Dewayne RichardsonMississippi Delta DA 4th District

Indianola, MS—Lamarcus Wallace, Kerry Wallace, and Patrick Wallace, of Indianola, were convicted yesterday by a Sunflower County Jury following a three-day trial, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today.  Justice delayed does not always mean justice denied.

Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013, the body of Christopher “Zeek” Burnett was found inside of his home in Drew, MS by his sister. Deputies with the Sunflower County Sheriff Department were contacted and responded to the scene.  Sunflower County’s Coroner Heather Burton also responded to the scene where she determined that due to the blood being dry and “coagulated”, the body had been there for some hours if not days.  Mrs. Burton requested an autopsy be conducted on the victim, Mr. Burnett.

The autopsy revealed Mr. Burnett had two gunshot wounds. One gunshot, wound was in close range to the left forehead of the victim because of the presence of stippling around the wound.  The second gunshot wound was determined to be a distance entry wound to the right of Mr. Burnett’s neck.  Bullets were recovered from both gunshot wounds.

The investigation of Mr. Burnett’s death went stale for over a year until Washington County Sheriff Department investigators made contact with the Sunflower County Sheriff Department Sheriff and Chief Deputy Flowers in September of 2014.  Investigators with the Washington County Sheriff Department informed Sunflower County Sheriff Haywood and Chief Deputy Flowers that they had someone who they picked up for felony charges who gave information about the murder of Mr. Burnett.

Sunflower County Sheriff and Chief Deputy met with the witness that had been arrested by the Washington County investigators and took a statement and learned that back in February of 2013 the witness along with Lamarcus Wallace, Kerry Wallace, and Patrick Wallace were looking for a house to burglarize.  Kerry Wallace knew Christopher “Zeek” Burnett and knew he kept money in his home.  Once Mr. Burnett became the target they traveled to his home in Drew, MS.  Kerry Wallace and Patrick Wallace went to the victim’s door, knocked, and Burnett answered the door.  Defendant’s then walked the victim back into his home at gunpoint. After the shooting, they left his home with his money and several of his personal items.

Based on the information provided, which corroborated with evidence, led to suspects Lamarcus Wallace, Kerry Wallace and Patrick Wallace being arrested.  The defendants were charged for the homicide and indicted for Capital Murder. Mississippi law deems the killing of another during the commission of Robbery as Capital Murder.

Assistant District Attorneys Takiyah Perkins and Austin Frye prosecuted the case. During closing arguments, they explained that there is no time limit on justice and they detailed to the jury how the information provided by the witness was consistent with evidence from the crime scene.

Following the third day of trial, the verdict of the jury was announced in open court after approximately less than two hours of deliberation—Lamarcus Wallace, Kerry Wallace, and Patrick Wallace were convicted of Capital Murder. Capital Murder convictions carry a mandatory sentence of Life Imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

ADAs Perkins and Frye are proud to have advocated on behalf of Christopher Burnett, his family and the people of Sunflower County.  “For ten (10) years this family has waited for justice.  The day known as a day of love was a day of sadness and grief for the Burnett family. Valentine’s Day will never be the same for this victim’s mother and family.  Senseless killings cannot and will not be tolerated.”

We are very grateful to the witness being willing to come forward and testifying about what happened in February 2013.  Without their willingness to come forward, we would have never known what happened to Christopher Burnett. Those who commit these crimes in Sunflower County or anywhere in the Fourth District will be held accountable and brought to justice,” Perkins added.

The Office of the District Attorney extends its gratitude for the work of the Sunflower County Sheriff Department, Washington County Sheriff Department, Sunflower County Coroner’s Office, the Forensic Pathologists at the Mississippi Medical Examiner’s Office, and for the patience and cooperation of Christopher “Zeek” Burnett’s family. “Knowing these defendants have been held accountable cannot replace Christopher’s presence in the lives of his family and friends, but it hopefully provides some sense of justice and closure for them as they are now finally able to start healing from this senseless tragedy,” said Richardson.