Courtroom tirades from alleged triggerman

William Fuller testified in his father's capital murder trial and painted his stepmother, Pauletta Burleson, as a monster.

October 6, 2011 4:20:52 PM PDT
Explosive testimony in the case of a pastor's mistress accused of planning the murder of his wife. On Thursday, the man charged with pulling the trigger took the stand and there were some dramatic outbursts.

Just a day before, the outbursts nearly caused a mistrial in the capital murder trial of Tyonne Palmer. She's accused of manipulating William Fuller into killing his own stepmother.

Those tirades led to some very tense moments in the courtroom. So heated at times, even the stressed out witness asked the judge for a break several times so he could cool off.

Fuller yelled on the witness stand, "And it was a scratch on my face!"

That was just one of several loud outbursts by William Fuller. The outbursts were so loud our cameras could pick up the rants from a hallway outside the courtroom.

It was a constant tirade before the jury as Fuller's former caregiver and lover, Tyonne Palmer, stands trial for her alleged role in the capital murder of Paulette Burleson.

"They asked me to kill my step-momma, so they could get married," Fuller testified. "Judge, can I have a break please?"

Fuller admits he killed his father's wife Paulette. He was noticeably agitated as the defense lawyer asked him about the love triangle including Palmer and his dad, former pastor Tracy Burleson. Prosecutors say the three came up with and carried out a plan to kill the pastor's wife so the three could have a happy life together.

Fuller told the court, "She bought the gun, so I could kill my stepmom so they could get married. That's why she bought the gun."

Paulette Burleson was gunned down in her garage in May last year. She was shot in the head execution style. Her husband Tracy Burleson is now spending the rest of his life in prison for his role in the murder. Investigators say Palmer picked up Fuller after the shooting and tried hiding evidence.

Palmer could spend the rest of her life in prison, if convicted.

Earlier developments:

Thursday began as another dramatic day with accused killer William Fuller on the stand. On Wednesday, Fuller had to be dragged out of the courtroom, yelling obscenities to his mistress and her husband, who was sitting in the courtroom.

On Thursday, despite a stern warning from the judge, Fuller had several outbursts, not obscenity-laden, and this time directed at the defense attorney.

An agitated Fuller took the stand, testifying against his alleged mistress. About 20 minutes into questioning, Fuller became especially irritated when the defense repeatedly asked him about the timeline of his stepmother's murder.

Screaming out to the defense, Fuller said, "I was doing a murder! You don't keep up with exact times and dates!"

Fuller had several outbursts during proceedings. He even turned to the judge and asked for a break.

Fuller's father, ex-pastor Tracy Burleson, was convicted of manipulating his son William to kill his wife, William's stepmother, for insurance money. Tyonne Palmer is on trial for her alleged role in that murder. Investigators say Palmer, who was dating both father and son, helped plan and cover up that shooting.

On Wednesday as the accused killer testified against his mistress, Fuller began verbally attacking Palmer and her husband, who was seated in the audience. Fuller had to be restrained and dragged out. Fuller's mother says her son told her his mistress' husband was making faces at him from the audience.

Tyonne Palmer's husband left court on Thursday just before testimony started.

Palmer faces murder charges for her alleged role in the killing.

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