Minister's mistress takes stand in her murder trial

Tracy Burleson was convicted of capital murder in September and will spend the rest of his life behind bars for his part in Paulette Burleson's death.

October 11, 2011 3:08:43 PM PDT
The woman accused of being at the center of a love triangle -- and then a murder-for-hire plot -- has taken the stand in her own defense. If convicted, Tyonne Palmer could spend the rest of her life in prison for the murder of a pastor's wife.

Palmer admitted to the jury she helped get rid of evidence and lied to police. But she claims she did it because she was scared of the pastor and his son.

Palmer appeared calm and reserved as she walked the jury through the events leading up to the murder of her married boyfriend's wife, Paulette Burleson. She told the jury how Pastor Tracy Burleson would often make her feel special by sending love notes and gifts to her job, and sometimes through his son, admitted killer William Fuller.

Palmer told the jury, "I did not want to be with anybody that badly that I would cause the death of somebody else."

Palmer is accused of helping the pastor come up with the plan to kill his wife and manipulating Fuller into carrying out the murder back in May last year. Fuller was living with Palmer at the time.

She told the jury, "He told me on several occasions that he wanted to kill his mom. And I told him that he shouldn't do that. And I called Tracy."

During Palmer's capital murder trial the jury already heard from Fuller. He told the court Palmer and his father organized the murder so they could get married. He claims she also bought the gun he used to kill his stepmom.

Prosecutors called one of Palmer's former co-workers to the stand, who showed the court text messages she claims Palmer sent asking for help buying a gun and bullets.

Palmer's lawyer says that gun wasn't to help commit a murder.

"There were several break-ins in her neighborhood, right around her home," explained defense attorney Anthony Osso. "She started school, and she wasn't getting out until 10:00 at night. She just wanted a gun for protection."

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