Jones County man found guilty of killing his neighbor

GRAY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The murder trial for the 2008 killing of 76-year-old Joseph Kitchens came to an end Friday.

Terrence Burney was found guilty of murder, armed robbery, false imprisonment, and burglary charges. Burney’s accomplice, Tyrone Richardson, testified against Burney. Richardson was found guilty of murder during an earlier trial and is serving a life sentence.

On October 11, 2008, Kitchens’ body was found by Jones County Deputy Travis Douglas. Douglas went to the mobile home on Hungerford Road to do a welfare check. Relatives told deputies they had not seen or heard from Kitchens. Douglas noticed someone had forced the back door open.

“I entered the house, it was overwhelmed with flies and a foul odor,” Douglass said in his police report. “I walked in the living room and saw two chairs in the front door entry way. One chair standing and the other turned over with a body in it. I could tell that a man was duct taped to the kitchen chair.”

Jacqueline Mason lived next door to Kitchens for 30 years.

“He was a quiet man. He didn’t bother nobody and I would go out there in my back yard sometimes and I wave at him,” said Mason. “He would not wave back.”

Prosecutor Dawn Baskin placed the chair in front of the jury and told them, “Mr. Kitchens died taped to this chair.”

According to the prosecutor, Burney and Richardson broke into Kitchen’s home while he was away, but Kitchens arrived at his home while the men were there.

According to Baskin, Kitchens was dragged into his home after a gun was pointed to his face. Baskin showed the jury the gun. She told the court the men were looking for more than $70,000 when they stole rifles and other items.

The men tied Kitchens to a chair and left him there, without being able to get food, water, or his medications.

Kitchens was a diabetic and suffered from a heart condition which caused his death, according to Jones County Chief Assistant District Attorney of the Ocmulgee Circuit Stephen Bradley.

Bradley says although the prosecution team won the first round. They still have another hurdle.

“I was pleased,” said Bradley. “It’s been a long time coming, it’s justice. The next step is to make sure that the court imposes the strongest possible sentence. This was really, really, callous, coarse, harsh crime.”

Jones County Superior Court Judge Trenton E. Brown III set sentencing for Burney for May 14.

Categories: Jones County, Local News

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