WARNING: The following crime summaries contain graphic descriptions of one or more murders and may not be suitable for all audiences or ages.
Date Received: 05/28/1979
Location: San Quentin State Prison
County of Trial: San Francisco
Sentence Date: 05/25/1979
County of Residence: Unknown
County of Offense: San Francisco
Offense Date: 07/05/1978
Court Action: Affirmed
Court Date: 11/30/1988
Case #: 98806
Victims: Boris G. Naumoff (male), Charles Harris (male, survived)
Robert Lee Massie was convicted of one count of first-degree murder in the Jan. 3, 1979 death of Boris G. Naumoff. A San Francisco County jury sentenced Massie to death on May 25, 1979.
Massie shot and killed Naumoff during a liquor store robbery, and wounded Charles Harris, another store employee. This crime occurred while Massie was on parole for a murder he committed in Los Angeles County in 1965. He had been given a death sentence for that crime, but it was overturned in 1972 when the California Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was unconstitutional.
According to a witness, on the afternoon of Jan. 3, 1979, she entered a San Francisco liquor store to make a purchase and saw Massie at the counter face-to-face with Naumoff, the owner of the liquor store. Thinking Massie was a customer, the witness stood next to him and said hello to Naumoff. Naumoff then handed Massie some money, which Massie placed in his jacket pocket. Naumoff then said to the witness, “A guy can’t make a living anymore.”
At that time, Chuck Harris, an employee of the store, walked in and spoke to Naumoff on his way to the back room. As Massie turned to walk out the door, Naumoff went around the counter after him. The two men started to wrestle in the aisle. Massie then fired several shots. One hit Naumoff in the neck and killed him; another wounded Harris in his right thigh. Although Massie escaped, the witness, who had ducked behind the counter when the shots were fired, was able to call the police.
At 9:50 p.m. the next night, San Francisco police officers apprehended Massie driving in his car. On Massie they found a Ruger .357 magnum, fully loaded. In his coat they found a loaded .380 Mauser automatic weapon with its hammer cocked in a fireable position, and several boxes of ammunition. Massie admitted that he had been under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances when he committed the crimes.
Massie’s First Death Sentence and Crimes:
Massie’s first death sentence came after he committed a series of robberies and assaults between January 7 and January 15, 1965, in Los Angeles County.
On the evening of January 7, Franklin Boller was getting out of his car in front of his home in West Covina when Massie approached him, hit him in the mouth with a rifle, and demanded money. Boller gave Massie his wallet and coin purse. Massie then fired a shot at Boller, grazing the side of his head.
Later that evening, Morris and Mildred Weiss were returning to their San Gabriel home. As Mrs. Weiss got out of the car, Massie approached and fatally shot her. He then jumped into a waiting car and sped off.
Just after midnight that night, Massie entered a Baldwin Park bar, brandished a rifle, and said, “This is a stickup.” He took money from the cash register and the wallets of the bartender and a patron. The bartender threw a beer bottle at Massie, who then fled.
On January 15, Massie encountered Frank Patti at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. The two of them agreed to go to Patti’s hotel room. There, Massie pulled a revolver, demanded money, and told Patti to take his clothes off. Patti attacked Massie, who fired three shots and fled. Two shots hit Patti in the stomach and the third grazed his neck.
Massie was arrested on January 20, 1965, for the assault on Patti. He gave two tape-recorded statements in which he admitted committing all of these crimes and said he was trying to rob Mrs. Weiss when he shot and killed her. He was convicted of four counts of robbery, one count of attempted murder, and one count of murder.
At 12:20 a.m., March 27, 2001, the execution by lethal injection of Robert Lee Massie began in San Quentin State Prison’s execution chamber. Massie was pronounced dead at 12:33 a.m.
Massie’s last meal included two vanilla milkshakes, extra crispy french fries, extra crispy fried oysters and soft drinks. He spent his last hours with his spiritual advisors and his attorneys.
Robert Lee Massie’s last words were “Forgiveness. Giving up all hope for a better past.”