Ex-pastor found guilty of capital murder

September 29, 2011 5:52:15 PM PDT
It's a guilty verdict in the murder trial of a former pastor. The jury believes Tracy Burleson had his son kill his wife.

The jury spent nearly five hours behind closed doors, ultimately deciding the former pastor will spend the rest of his life behind bars for his role in his wife's murder.

Tracy Burleson sat expressionless as the jury began hearing closing arguments in his capital murder trial. The former pastor of New Mount Calvary Church is accused of promising his son, William Fuller, money to kill his wife Paulette.

Prosecutor Caroline Dozier told the jury, "William Fuller hated his stepmother, but he didn't kill her to frame his father. He did it because he loved his father."

Family members describe the relationship between Burleson, his wife, and son as dysfunctional. Witnesses told the jury Burleson was known to have extramarital affairs. Prosecutors say the man was planning a life with his mistress Tyonne Palmer, who is seen posing with them in photo taken months before his own wife's murder.

"Tracy and Ty convinced William Fuller the only way they could have a happy family is if Paulette was out of this picture," assistant district attorney Kari Allen told the jury. "Tracy sweetened the pot by offering insurance money."

Paulette Burleson was shot in the head while sitting in her garage in May last year. Investigators say initially her husband told detectives he was at the store when the murder happened. Prosecutors say evidence shows Burleson repeatedly lied to police and tried covering up the scene.

Paulette's sister Fannie Aaron said, "I put it all in the hands of God and the judge and the jury. They served as due, what he deserved. I'm sad about it that I can't bring my sister back. But God has prevailed. I thank them for making the right decision."

The victim's family says this verdict brings them one step closer to closure.

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