Pastor, girlfriend, son charged in wife's murder

Pastor Tracey Burleson and his 20-year-old son William Fuller were taken into custody on June 8th

June 8, 2010 5:04:14 PM PDT
Authorities arrested three people in connection with the death of a church pastor's wife found murdered last month outside of her northeast Harris County home just a week after their church burned to the ground. Harris county sheriff's investigators are questioning Pastor Tracey Burleson, his 20-year-old son William Fuller, and the pastor's girlfriend, Tyonne Marie Palmer-Pollard. A spokesperson for the US Marshal's Office says all three have been arrested in connection with the murder of Pauletta Burleson, 56.

The trio was taken into custody early Tuesday morning. They each had a warrant out for their arrest and were picked up by members of the Gulf Coast Violent offenders task force. At this point, very little is known about what exactly they are being accused of. Fuller was arrested in a parking lot at the corner of Beltway 8 and Old Humble Road. Burleson and Palmer-Pollard were arrested at her home in northeast Harris County.

Neighbor Ralph Dawson heard about the arrests and was surprised to hear about Fuller. They used to play dominoes together.

"He seemed to be a fine kid as far as I know," Dawson said. "I've never had any problems with him and I don't know of anyone else who has."

Pauletta Burleson was shot and killed in the driveway of her northeast Harris County home on May 18, about a week after a suspicious fire at her husband's eastside church, the New Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

Burleson told investigators he found his wife's body after returning home from the neighborhood convenience store. Next door neighbor Leon Lawson believes him.

"He told me, said he didn't do it," Lawson said. "He didn't do it."

Associate Pastor Marcus Nobles says he never saw this coming. Despite the typical ups and downs, he describes the Burlesons' marriage as solid.

"They loved each other," Nobles said. "She was his backbone. She would do anything to protect her husband and her pastor."

New Mount Calvary Baptist Church Associate Pastor Marcus Nobles says he never saw this coming. Despite the typical ups and downs, he describes the Burlesons' marriage as solid.

"They loved each other," Nobles said. "She was his backbone. She would do anything to protect her husband and her pastor."

But late Tuesday afternoon we talked to Pauletta Burleson's son, John Ross. He gave us insight on a possible motive for his mother's murder. She was killed a week after the church caught fire under suspicious circumstances.

"My mom was his income and she was about to strip him of everything, from the church and from any finances and he knew it," Ross said.

Tracey Burleson flatly denies having anything to do with his wife's death. He said he had nothing to do with his wife's murder and he wants members of his congregation to know that he is an innocent man.

Murder charges are being filed against Pastor Tracey Burleson and his 20-year-old son William Fuller. Pollard is being charged with tampering with evidence.

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