SUSPECT PLEADS GUILTY IN 2014 HOMICIDE OF WILLIAM “COUGAR” BURLEIGH

News Release from Portland Police Bureau Posted on FlashAlert: July 1st, 2015 4:06 PM

On Monday June 29, 2015, 42-year-old Robert Lewis Browne pled guilty to Manslaughter in the Second Degree and was sentenced to 75 months in prison in connection with the October 2014 homicide of William “Cougar” Burleigh. Browne was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Oregon Fugitive Task Force on February 3, 2014 in Southeast Portland and booked into the Multnomah County Jail. This investigation started on Sunday October 12, 2014, at 3:27 a.m., when Central Precinct officers responded to assist medical personnel on the report of a man lying unconscious across the street from the Portland Rescue Mission, located at 111 West Burnside Street. Officers and medical personnel located the man non-responsive and suffering from a head injury. The man had no identification and detectives and criminalists were later able to identify him as William “Cougar” Burleigh. Burleigh was transported to a Portland hospital where he died two days later. No witnesses approached the officers at the scene. Further investigation by detectives revealed several subjects were in the area during this incident. Detectives later identified reluctant witnesses who told police that Burleigh was involved in a confrontation with Browne in which Browne punched Burleigh and knocked him to the ground. The Oregon State Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on October 15, 2014 and concluded that Burleigh’s injuries were consistent with a fall. Detective Anthony Merrill was the lead Homicide investigator on this case and Deputy District Attorney Amity Girt prosecuted this case for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.