Warren E. Burnett, a whiskey-swigging, Shakespeare-quoting Texas lawyer who achieved near-legendary status by winning big jury awards, taking on seemingly impossible murder cases and defending the powerless, died on Monday while visiting Fort Davis, Tex. He was He was sitting on a porch with a cold beer in his hand when he had a heart attack, said his wife, Kay Taylor Burnett. Burnett lived in League City, Tex. In a state where sensational trials are high sport, the angular Mr. Burnett -- with his size 14 shoes and stentorian oratory owing not a little to the King James version of the Bible -- cut a striking figure. He insisted that he was not the Percy Foreman of Odessa, but that Mr. Foreman, the famed lawyer, was the Warren Burnett of Houston. Larry L.
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Warren Burnett, the legendary Texas trial lawyer—and if ever there was a legitimate use of the word legendary, this is it—died on a veranda overlooking a garden in West Texas on a beautiful afternoon in September with a cold beer in his hand. He was He was the least sentimental idealist I ever knew. Burnett was, simply, the finest trial lawyer in Texas and quite possibly in the nation in his day. Burnett was so revered by his colleagues that whenever he tried a case, lawyers and law students would show up like groupies to watch him. I once saw former Congressman Craig Washington, himself famous for having three times successfully defended an impossible case—a black convict who had killed a white guard—come up to Burnett at a reception, kneel and kiss his hand in respect.