Superior Court Judge James Cline has been appointed to the case following the retirement of Superior Court Judge Lee Parrott May 20, 2012. Burney and Richardson are charged with two counts of felony murder, armed robbery, false imprisonment, and burglary in the 2008 deaths of 75-year-old Thomas Stanford Griffis and 76-year-old Joseph Kitchens. Burney was 18 and Richardson 20 at the time of their arrests.
The state announced that it would be seeking the death penalty in the case Aug. 29, 2011.
District Attorney Fred Bright began the Feb. 21 hearing stating that his goal was to set the date for the death penalty trial. He said by law the defendants will be tried separately and Richardson will be the first.
Kitchens’ murder will be the focus of the trial, and Griffis’ murder will be used for the sentencing phase if the defendants are found guilty. Bright told the court that Kitchens’ murder took place sometime between Oct. 11-17, 2008. The men were indicted for the Kitchens murder in February of 2009. That indictment was subsequently withdrawn, and Richardson and Burney were indicted Feb. 10, 2011, for Griffis’ murder in addition to Kitchens.
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