The Washington C.H. man found guilty of the attempted aggravated murder of a local woman was sentenced Tuesday to serve 20 years in prison.
After being found guilty at his trial last Wednesday, Antonio Lamar Burrell, 39, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on the first-degree felony attempt to commit aggravated murder charge, three mandatory years on a firearms specification, two years on the second-degree felony improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation, three years on third-degree felony having weapons under disability, and one year on fourth-degree felony improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle. Burrell fired several gunshots into a Linden Avenue home on Aug. 10, 2015 with knowledge that a woman was inside.
“The court finds that consecutive sentences are necessary in order to protect the public and punish Mr. Burrell,” said Fayette County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Beathard during the sentencing hearing.
“This offender’s criminal history does show a consecutive term is needed to protect the public,” said Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade. Burrell was previously sentenced to a 10-year prison term in Franklin County for aggravated arson. “This offender is no stranger to the criminal courtroom or the criminal arena and certainly deserves to be treated as such,” said Weade.
The maximum sentence Burrell was facing was 26-and-half years in prison. The state recommended a minimum sentence of at least 20 years.
During last week’s trial, it was revealed that the victim, who lives at a Linden Avenue home in Washington C.H., called 911 at 1:36 a.m. on Aug. 10 and told the dispatcher that after the shooting, she observed a white vehicle speed away heading toward Aspen Drive. She provided the names of two possible suspects – Burrell and Misty M. Carver. The victim, another adult and an 8-year-old child were reportedly inside the home when the shooting occurred. It’s alleged that Carver was driving the vehicle and Burrell fired the shots into the house.
No one inside the house was struck during the shooting, however, one of the shotgun blasts narrowly missed a bed that the child usually sleeps in, according to police. According to authorities and from testimony at the trial, the shooting was allegedly the result of “a dispute over the theft of cigarettes from Burrell by (the victim).”
Although the jury found Burrell guilty of attempted aggravated murder of the victim who made the report, it did not find that there was sufficient proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Burrell purposefully was trying to kill any other occupants of the house or that there were actually any other occupants inside the house at the time of the shooting.
“The offender’s relationship with this victim facilitated the offense,” said Weade. “They were neighbors and their children played together.”
During his sentencing hearing, Burrell apologized to the court and to the victim for his actions. “I really do need help for alcohol (abuse), I was drinking heavily. If it wasn’t for my drinking, none of this would’ve taken place.”
Following the call from the victim on Aug. 10, 2015, WPD officers and Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputies immediately responded to the scene.
As WPD Sgt. Shannon Long was driving to the scene northbound on Delaware Street, he encountered a white vehicle heading southbound. The vehicle matched the description of the vehicle provided to the dispatcher, police said.
Shannon Long made a traffic stop on the vehicle on Delaware Street near Market Street. The officer approached the vehicle and observed a shotgun located inside the vehicle on the rear passenger floorboard. The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, identified as Carver, was questioned about the shotgun in the vehicle, but denied any knowledge of it being in the car, according to police.
Further investigation resulted in probable cause to arrest Carver and Burrell, police said. Burrell was arrested at his home.
Five empty shotgun shells that were allegedly found on the street in front of 894 Linden Ave. matched the gauge (12-gauge) of the shotgun located in Carver’s vehicle.
The buckshot fired from the shotgun struck the vinyl siding of the house, shattered windows and impacted the walls inside the home, according to police.
Carver, 31, is facing three first-degree felony counts of complicity to attempted aggravated murder, three second-degree felony counts of complicity to felonious assault, a second-degree felony count of complicity to improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation, a third-degree felony count of complicity to discharging a firearm on or near prohibited premises, and a fourth-degree felony count of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. She is scheduled to go to trial in June.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica