Court: Husband paid son to kill wife

June 11, 2010 10:39:16 AM PDT
There's new information in the murder of a pastor's wife. The case gets more intriguing as the hours pass. Pastor Tracy Burleson and his 20-year-old son, William Fuller, remain in jail without bond. Investigators are shedding new light on this case. They say there was a love triangle between Pastor Burleson, his girlfriend -- Tyonne Palmer -- and Burleson's son.

As for a possible motive for the murder of Pastor Burleson's wife, Pauletta Burleson, they say Tracy may have had his wife killed so that he could collect $60,000 in insurance money.

There's a lot to sort out here because authorities say Fuller is giving them conflicting information about the alleged plot to kill his stepmother.

We were there as Pastor Burleson publicly denied any involvement in his wife's murder. We asked him who killed her.

"I don't know," he replied.

Burleson claimed he was at the store buying chips and candy when someone shot and killed Pauletta outside the couple's home in their driveway back on May 18.

A judge said in court, "Mr. Burleson, you are accused of the offense of murder."

In court Wednesday morning, Burleson listened as prosecutors explained how investigators figured out that his story didn't match up.

"They were not able to recover any chips or candy in the car and then he changed his story saying that he hadn't bought the candy and chips," Assistant Harris County District Attorney Justin Wood said. "Then they discovered the store that he had allegedly gone to had closed at 10pm."

Authorities say Burleson's son told an unidentified witness that his father paid him to kill his wife.

Wood said, "He advised that the co-defendant, his father, was actually there when the murder had occurred."

Fuller later recanted his statement and accused his father of being the triggerman. But local community activist Quanell X said Fuller told him a story similar to what he had originally told investigators.

"He was crying uncontrollably," Quanell X said. "He was truly remorseful for everything that has taken place."

Quanell X said Fuller confessed that his father hired him to kill his own stepmother, promising money and a place to live, but stopped short of admitting he pulled the trigger.

Instead, Fuller went on to describe Palmer's involvement. She also is facing criminal charge of tampering with evidence.

"She helped him dispose of the murder weapon, even drove him back to the murder scene," Quanell X said.

"Being tossed over a bridge and, I believe, into water but I am not sure of that," said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Kari Allen about how the gun allegedly was disposed.

Palmer remains behind bars at the Harris County jail. She is being held on $50,000 bond.

Pauletta Burleson was killed a week after the couple's church, First Mount Calvary Baptist Church in northeast Houston, caught fire. While no law enforcement agency has linked the murder of the pastor's wife to the May fire that destroyed their Fifth Ward church, Quanell x says Fuller claims he and his father were involved.

"What he said was that the plan was to burn down the cafeteria of the church but not the whole church," Quanell X said.


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