Jury deliberating fate of minister's mistress

The jury came to a verdict Thursday, October 13.

October 12, 2011 4:43:22 PM PDT
A Harris County jury is deliberating the fate of Tyonne Palmer. She's accused of being involved in a murder-for-hire plot that ended with a pastor's wife being gunned down in the driveway of their home.

The jury began deliberating around noon Wednesday and was sent home by 5:30pm. Jurors came from behind closed doors a couple of times to ask the judge a few questions. They're weighing two charges against Palmer -- capital murder and tampering with evidence.

Palmer appeared calm, yet emotional during closing arguments as her lawyer, Anthony Osso, told the jury the only thing he believes the 32-year-old woman's guilty of is tampering with evidence.

Palmer testified she lied to police several times about details in the murder of her married boyfriend's wife, Pauletta Burleson. And she admitted she helped his son, William Fuller, get rid of the murder weapon.

"I'm hoping that they have capital murder, they get capital murder, because she's guilty. You know she lied on the stand several times. She caught herself in a lie," said Burleson's sister, Joyce Bingham.

"I see my sister's face all the time, in my face, and it brings tears to my eyes because I don't feel like she should have been done like this," she added.

Palmer's accused of helping pastor Tracy Burleson come up with the plan to kill his wife in May last year so they could get married. Prosecutors say his son, admitted killer William Fuller, was living with and also sleeping with Palmer two weeks after the murder.

William Fuller's birth mother, Sharon Fuller, also has been watching the capital murder trial all week.

"She pushed William into this. She slept with him. She used sex, she used her home, in order to be with a man that was still married. She knew he was married," Sharon Fuller said.

Prosecutors say Palmer helped manipulate Fuller into carrying out the murder because she knew he suffered years of abuse from his stepmother and spoke of killing her before.

Prosecutors ended their closing arguments telling the jury "She was in love with Tracy Burleson... She became so blinded by her love for him, by her obsession for him, that she would stop at nothing to be with him."

If convicted, Palmer could spend the rest of her life in prison. And that's the punishment Burleson's family is hoping for.

"I think she should get life. Life, I really do. I feel for her children and what have you, but she should have thought about this before she got involved," Bingham said.

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