Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

Pastor's Wife (Pauletta Burleson)

Pastor's Wife (Pauletta Burleson)

Tue, 16 Aug 2022 07:00

A pastor’s wife is gunned down in the couple’s driveway. Their relationship, their church and even family, start to intermingle in ways no one expected.

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If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. Hey, do you need police? Fire, ambulance. He was just vehement to them that he loved his wife. What's going on there? Why the officers needed it was like over and over while I have had a lot of him repetitive and rhyming, like I didn't kill my wife. Literally, it was a little almost like Doctor Seuss. She's like, I would not kill my wife. I would not do it with a knife. I do not do it with a gun. I didn't do nothing to hurt my wife. I just got Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Delizie former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction. It's anatomy of murder. Today's case will challenge investigators to weave through some complicated relationships to get to the truth. And in the end, the truth will be stranger than fiction for today's story. I spoke with Caroline Dozier, who's an assistant District Attorney in Harris County, Texas. I like putting together the puzzle. I don't. I don't like puzzles in real life, but I do like the puzzle of a homicide. Caroline's main focus at the DA's office now is gang related. Cases, but for years it was mainly homicides. They're very interesting. They're very sad. It gives me a sense of peace and accomplishment, I guess, to know that I'm giving a family some closure when they've had this horrible thing happen to them. Prosecutors obviously have a serious job when they take that on as their career. So it really made me giggle when Caroline talked about the reason she first decided to go into this work. Well, my reasons really dumb. I way back in the day there was a show called LA Law and Gracie on the show was a prosecutor and she was a ******. I wanted to be a ******. That was fine. It's so interesting when people relate their jobs back to early influences on TV. I think I know one of your references is law and order 100%. It's not the reason I became a prosecutor, but law and order is by far my favorite fictionalized drama. And it was always the Sam Waterstone character that Jack McCoy that really got me, except I always thought he could be a woman, and it was probably a very immature idea of what a prosecutor was at the time. But honestly, that's what first. Brought me to the job. Our case today starts on May 18th, 2010, and like many of the stories we feature, this one began with a frantic 911 call. 911, Please take geaney, police, fire ambulance. What's going on there while the officers needed to save my wife? It was 56 year old Tracy Burleson who had found his wife Pauletta dead in their driveway. Please. So just the very basics of who pauletta Burleson was. She was 56 years old, the mother of multiple children, both biological stepchildren. She even had foster children in her care, and she was very involved in her church. Pauletta actually worked a regular, you know, eight to five Monday through Friday job and got a regular paycheck, whereas her husband, Tracy Burleson, was a pastor to church and preached once a week. When first officers arrived on the scene, the first thing they noticed was the caller, Tracy, crouched next to a vehicle. They saw him kind of crouching down along a car like he was hiding from somebody, and as they approached him he was visibly shaken. And then he saw the police. He came out in the street and waved them down and then ran back to his wife and laid down on the ground next to her and was hugging her. And the officer said it actually looked like he was trying to press her body up against his body. About lying on her stomach in a pool of her own blood, deceased from a single gunshot wound to the back of her head, and it appears at one point she may have been sitting in a chair that lied behind her, but lying next to her was a single 38 caliber shell casing. So Scott, when you look at. What the police did have. What are some of your first thoughts? Well, just based on the crime scene itself, it looks like the victim was seated in a chair and the killer may have approached from behind and at close range fired a single shot. Now the fact that this was an ambush style attack at such a close range leads me to believe initially this execution style murder, it appeared very personal. And with that of course the first person that the police are going to want to question is those closest to the deceased. So in this case that we Paulette's husband Tracy, so the police. Wanted to know his story from the beginning and they actually spoke to him right there at the scene. You're about to hear actual audio of Tracy Burleson, the victim's husband, as he relayed events to investigators. We're talking and everything, and I told us to go down to the store. He told them he was not there when it happened. He driven his car to the store, came back, found her and then called 911. And then she said, OK, well I know when I came back she would just pumped up in the chair. There's the possibility there could have been a drive by somebody just driven by and and shot. Paulette, although, didn't really explain how she could be sitting in a chair facing the street, get shot in the back of the head. Call 911 because I told you I was trying to holler for somebody to help me. How full be a man of God. And there was no evidence of robbery, there was nothing taken, so it certainly seems to be a targeted attack. Hey, man, that pain because she's you know, to do something like that, I'll let's hate I I have to be a man of God. Man. I I have to be a man God. Of course I say that I'm I have to forgive him, man. But that's hard. You know. As they did their investigation there at the scene, they definitely found things that were suspicious. Tracy almost immediately told police that Paulette had a gun, but not any gun. The same type of gun that matched the shell casings found at the scene. About 38 pills took in our car. So Tracy Burleson was a pastor of a church, and he'd actually pastored at least two different churches that I'm aware of. He was 44 years old. He and Paula had been married at least nine years. He also had multiple children that lived with him and Pauletta. They had several children between the two of them, and I think they also had several foster kids. He was a pastor at their church and while small in physical stature, he had a big personality and was known to be very charismatic. He and his wife, Pauletta Burleson, were kind of joined at the hip when it came to the church. Pauletta was kind of a daughter figure to one of the deacons, and apparently in this church, the Deacons are the one who picked the pastor. So while to most in the congregation they were seen as a power couple, for others the pairing was a bit odd. He was 11 years her junior. And things got even more complex when it got to their relationship together. So if people would ask, well, maybe were they a good couple? The answer to that complicated. And the answer really is just sometimes. But their relationship was good when they had money to spend and not so good the rest of the time. They fought all the time. Now, Tracy was very quick to tell officers how much he loved his wife, but he was also very quick to deny that he was involved at all in this homicide. Though investigators did not even ask that specific question, and for me, that was a pretty big BRF for a big red flag. You know, I didn't do nothing to hurt my wife. I think from the very first moment the police saw him, they were suspicious. His actions were just bizarre and he was just vehement to them that he loved his wife. It was like over and over, a repetitive and rhyming, like Doctor Seuss. She's like, I would not kill my wife. I would not do it with a knife. I do not do it with a gun. I love my wife. I wouldn't kill her, you know? I love her. We have a great relationship. Let's just also start with a 911 call. There were several interesting things that came out of that. Paul? Do you need police? Fire? Ambulance? When Tracy called, the only asked for police. He did not ask for an ambulance. Do you need police? Fire? Ambulance? Now, perhaps he knew his wife was already dead, but why not ask for paramedics? The 911 operator wanted to connect him to medical personnel to assist to see if he could really provide some first aid to his wife, but then Tracy just hung up. Well, I think in many cases you immediately look at a husband or a boyfriend, but another thing that was really interesting, he got put in a patrol car and one of the officers on the scene noticed that he was very intent in watching the investigation. Investigators took note that he really seemed to be more focused on what they were doing rather than on his wife, and he seemed to be squiggling around, moving around in the car everywhere they walked. He would watch them, and he asked the officer whose car he was in to move him around the corner. He said he's watching the crime scene officers work. He's he's very interested in the investigation, more so than a grieving husband would be, and while he seemed to be almost sobbing. There were no actual tears. At least you know their Spidey senses were going off, that this guy's acting really weird. The word anesthesia, Spidey sense comes up and do you believe in that? I absolutely believe that. And I think all of us in this line of work have it, you know, some better than others. I've used the word hinky before in this podcast about someone's actions and a feeling that I get from them, you know, avoiding eye contact, moving their body around. Perhaps it's a nervous twitch, but all of those things can give you as the investigator. Feeling that something doesn't feel quite right, but you know, there is a danger in that, too. You have to go with your gut and your instinct is often right and these things, but not always. And we have to ultimately be led by evidence, not just how things may feel or appear on their face. But as you said, Alicia, that doesn't really mean a lot when it comes to proving that in a court. But as investigators spoke to Tracy, he was insistent that he had absolutely nothing to do with his wife. Murder. But he quickly started to point fingers at who he thought might be to blame, and he focused on people from their church. My wife had a lot of it. She told me that they said that ain't y'all church. We're going to kill y'all for taking our church. And he said he had actual proof that someone was gunning not only for paleta, but for him, too. 10 days before Pauletta was killed, the church that Tracy was pastoring in burned down. Tracy was the pastor of the first new Mountain Calvary Baptist Church, and shortly before the homicide, this religious staple in the neighborhood had just suffered a devastating fire, one that had been deemed suspicious. Theaters find out about the church fire. It's not just a homicide investigation anymore. Question was this homicide and the arson fire related? Was someone after Tracy or Pauletta? And there had been quite a bit of discord in the church about who was running it, who was in charge, and even about money, because there was a certain faction of the parishioners that one weren't happy that Tracy was now running the show, and also didn't necessarily trust that Pauletta and Tracy were looking out for the best interest of the church. The fact that these two events occurred so close to each other, it would have to be an angle that investigators would look at, but an arson fire is one of the first theories involves the question. Of whether the fire was an inside job and it was done to collect insurance, and if so, who would be the benefactor? But also, if there's all this messiness going on in the church about who's running it, would someone go so far as to, OK, great, if Tracy's running the show and we don't think he's really looking out to us, to almost burn it down to get him out and then start again? And that was the reason why police decided to go talk to members of the congregation to hear their thoughts on the fire. What they found out it was a divided congregation. There was, you know, one group of people who supported Tracy Burleson as the pastor and wanted him to be the pastor. And there was another group who felt like he was trying to take the church away from them. So there was definitely a rift in the church, and some of the congregation actually did think that Tracy would have burned down and did burned down the church himself. But they're not members of a jury. They're just members of your church. I think the group of people who were not for Tracy also believed that Tracy and Pauletta were skimming or taking money from the church. There was actually a lawsuit filed at one point to get the financials on the church, and it's interesting because that particular church, when the civil court ordered that the financials be turned over, it burned down along with all the papers. It definitely is quite a coincidence that Tracy and Pauletta are being looked at for maybe some, to use your words. Got hinky finances and now all of a sudden the financials are gone up in smoke. But then could that now be a motive for the murder? Let me add one more thing out of sea and get your thought on it. You know, if the fire and the homicide were in fact connected, perhaps Pauletta became aware that it was an inside job and somebody wanted her silenced. Now, you just brought something that I had not thought about before because at least the way that you just said that, I'm thinking almost like you're saying, well, if Tracy had done this. And now. Maybe the wife had nothing to do with it. Would someone go so far to try to silence her as a witness? I wasn't even thinking that. But yeah, it also shows how many possibilities are out there until we actually know. While it can be looked at and was probably looked at as a motive for murder, it turns out that during those interviews with parishioners, a fair number of them had negative feelings towards Pauletta, revealing that she clearly herself had some enemies within the church. We have church members who don't like pauletta. There were people who said that, you know, her own family didn't care for her. Her sister thought that she had cheated the family out of their inheritance. By selling their mother's home, it just didn't seem that there were a whole lot of people who liked Pauletta, and so there were a lot of suspects. And with that, it really now comes back to is it bad blood within the church, specifically at pauletta, whether it's because of something, a friend thing or a parishioner thing or even a money thing. But the biggest revelation in this investigation would come with further discussions with members of the congregation. Investigators would uncover even more dirty laundry. This rumor in the church about Tracy sleeping with other women, Tracy, you know, tried to deny it because obviously that's not a good look for a pastor. But the other women that he slept with when they were confronted admitted to the relationships. But, you know, if there's this infidelity going on and if some of the women that Tracy is having these dalliances with are married with their husbands now know about it and be angered and maybe be targeting him, or is it something that he's being targeted but pauletta? Is mistakenly shot instead. I don't know well, one of the women he was supposedly having an affair with was 32 year old Tyrone Palmer. Tyrone Palmer was a nurse. She was a mother of two or three kids. She was married but going through a divorce, all of her coworkers said. She was a lovely human being, kind, compassionate, all the types of things that you would expect and hope for from somebody who was in the nursing field. So here's another connection to Tracy Tyrone was also taking care of Tracy's son, William Fuller. He had moved in with Tyrone Palmer. She was a young lady that he had met through some friends, and she had really kind of just become a godsend in his life. William was 20 years old. He had lived with his biological mom until Child Protective Services took him away at age 11. Then he lived back with his dad Tracy and stepmom Pauletta until he turned 18. When he moved in with her, it was like the first loving home he felt like he ever had. Tyone also was a nurse, which was helpful because William had sickle cell anemia and had a lot of health problems surrounding that, and he he needed the extra care. She'd also really taken him under her wing, both as a caretaker and even trying to get his life on track as far as work. And she was helping him to become a nurse, just like her. I think William probably had a crush on her. He definitely looked up to her as like a mother figure and a sister figure, but I would imagine he probably had a crush on her. She was an attractive woman and she took care of him. I mean, he probably felt like he owed his life to her, but I don't think she had that same feeling towards him. William often attended services at his father's church, and he also brought Tayone to several the services, and that is where Tyone and Tracy first met. And I think he was taking her kind of like a little bit to show off about, like, look, I have a real home. I'm doing great. So he took her to his father's church, maybe to show off, maybe, I don't know. And when he took her, his father saw her and he was interested. And already I got not my first uh, and now the next thing he knows, his dad is dating that woman. There were cards back and forth, letters back and forth, flowers again. It's just getting messier and more complex. Tracy was allowed a night out on Fridays. Paula let him, you know, go out on Fridays. She did not know he was going out with another woman, but it was his night to go out and do whatever he wanted to. And he would meet Tayone at a hotel, and that's where they would have sex on Friday nights. So Williams relationship watermelon was very important to him, and by this point he had developed feelings for Tyrone. But it's unclear if she even realized it. I feel like William was probably conflicted when his dad got involved with Tyrone, because Tyrone had been his little prize, she had been all his, and now his dad is interested in her intentions, showing the interest back, and now he's having to share her. And he was probably totally conflicted because he really did love his dad, but he loved Tyrone, and now instead of having this adult relationship with Tyrone and loving his dad, he's kind of just one of the kids now. So investigators really needed to take a step back and look at this complicated picture. Perhaps Tracy wanted his wife killed so he could be with Tayone. Or what about the possibility of that Tyrone is involved to clear the path for her to be with Tracy? And how does Williams feelings for Tayon play into this honestly? For investigators, this is quite the puzzle to untangle. And to work on it, they begin to talk to people who knew Tayone knew William Fuller and his father Tracy. Really talked to Tyrones coworkers at the hospital, and the coworkers mentioned that she was getting flowers from this guy Tracy. He'd actually come up to the hospital one time when his son was in the hospital for about a month. But then they discover a detail that no one was expecting. Tyrone was talking to coworkers about how she was getting married to Tracy and they were engaged. I mean, she was engaged to his father, for heaven's sakes. So this really is the big baboom revelation because, remember, Tracy and Pauletta are still very much married. There is no separation, no divorce in the works. So how is that he's actually engaged to another woman? And again, Scott, going into one of your, you know, Scott isms. It's that BRF all over the place. Once investigators learned that there's a potential wedding being planned between Tracy and Tione, that leaves them asking the questions who would benefit? If Paul Latta was no longer alive, so as investigators start to dig pretty deep into their lives, even more disturbing potential evidence about Tyone begins to emerge. Tyrone and Tracy were supposed to get married, I think, in April of 2011, and Tyrone moved the date up. She wanted it in August of 2010 after the church burned down, she told Tracy. You know, you've got a week. So, wanna see? I have my potential list of suspects. Let's see where you come out on them. The first one on my list, obviously, is Tracy, because he allegedly wanted to clear the path for himself to be with Tyrone. How about you? You know, I'm looking at this all almost like the game you all might know the game of clue, right? Because there's so many different potentials out there. You also have is it an angry church member? Because remember, is it someone who is so angry at pileta because she is the one through her influence with the Deacon that made sure that Tracy was up there on the pulpit? And what about Tyrone? What responsibility could she have in this? Because clearly, polletta being out of the picture helps her get one step closer to being with Tracy. I mean, I think what we're saying here, there are so many avenues for investigators to go down. This is a complicated homicide puzzle that needs to be put together. And so while investigators certainly have enough on their hands trying to decipher who is, who isn't, who could potentially be involved, there's a whole. Different area of information that begins to come to light that takes them in another new direction. There was a police investigation into Tracy and Pauletta for abuse to the kids. Pauletta is the victim, but it doesn't necessarily mean she was perfect. She was always seen as a strict disciplinarian. She was not a kind person at home. She may have presented a different face at work, but at home she was not a loving mother figure at all. Tracy's own son complained that Paulette would not allow the kids to bathe inside the home. She said that they were just too dirty, instead having them use the hose outside. Tracy did not end up getting filed on, but Pauletta did. She actually got filed on for injury to a child. Two or three different cases. One was involving William and then one or more of them was involving her other sons. I just remember the stories that they would tell about the abuse. One of her kids talked about how she told the other kids to beat up the youngest child and they didn't want to do it. And she said, if you don't beat the kid, I'm going to beat you. So she. Essentially forced some of the kids to beat up the other kids. You know, you have to take people as you find them, and as prosecutors investigators, we have a job to do no matter who the victim is. Because, again, just as a generalized thinking, of course a society needs rules that apply to everyone, not just the people that we look at, the shiniest pennies amongst us. So while she's certainly may sounds at least like she had certain failings in her own life, she still had to have this case investigated the same as if she was anybody else. So investigators would do a deep dive into Paulette's. Background just to see if any of these negative interactions could have caused someone to want her dead. Chief among those was Tracy's own son, William. And while Pauletta's own stepson William did have a solid alibi in the night of the murder, he even showed up to the crime scene after the murder to be very supportive to his father. That is going in so many directions already. The twists aren't about the evidence, it's about all the potential people that almost investigators can't figure out well who's on 1st. So it's in a way getting them nowhere. But the mystery really begins to get untangled and they start to have a laser beam focused by what happened next. It began with an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers telling investigators they know exactly who killed Pauletta. That person eventually came forward and her identity was revealed. She was a family friend and she was actually, according to the prosecutor, Caroline Williams, godmother. And she told them that William Fuller had confessed to her. And he went on to say that he was glad he did it and was not remorseful at all. You know, one thing to point out is that Poeta was not his biological mother, remember? He was taken from his home by Protective Services and then placed eventually with his biological father, who is Tracy, with his then new wife, Pauletta. And by various accounts both documented and undocumented, she was abusive. So you do start to wonder, did that fuel an anger that ultimately led to murder? The police asked her if she would be willing to reach out to William and have a phone conversation with him so that they could actually record that conversation and record the confession she did it. I think she sent him a Facebook message asking him to call her and waited for him to call and when he called she was still there with the police and they recorded that conversation and he confessed to her that he had killed Pauletta. Was quickly realized that his confession was only the beginning. Based on the way she was asking questions. He realized at some point he was probably being recorded, but he still confessed to her. But investigators pressed on as the evidence, they say, was not adding up to his story. He did not like Paulette. He no love lost there at all. He hated her, as a matter of fact. Then the interview took a decisive turn when Fuller admitted he was not acting alone in this execution murder. He did finally tell the whole story about how it went down. He finally admitted to killing Paulette for his dad, but he didn't do it. Because he hated her. I think that just made it easier. He killed Pauletta because his dad asked him to. He wanted her dead. He wanted her out of his life because she was just too much trouble for him and and he didn't want to lose the money and he didn't want to lose the church. He was afraid if he divorced her. So he didn't want to get rid of the wife the way you're supposed to get rid of wife by divorce. He wanted to divorce her by gunshot. We hire the carry out this assassination, his own son, William Fuller, and the way that they had planned it. Tracy was going to be out there distracting Polletta, and the two of them began this loud argument, which is according to the plan. And then William exited the house, walked up behind her and shot her at close range in the head. And then soon after that he took the gun and tossed it off a bridge. You're a horrible human being if you put your kid up to do that. Be an adult. Take care of your own problems. Don't have your kids do it. Your kids are precious. Why would you ever put them in harm's way that way? When you heard that, what did your gut say? Or do the selfishness of that act? The I don't care about my own son, the welfare 20 years old to sacrifice the mental well-being, the physical well-being, putting him at risk of going to jail because you want to be with another woman, your own flesh and blood. It's reprehensible. And I think that's the exact word that I kept coming up with. Like reprehensible. And it wasn't just for a favor. Tracy planned to split Paulette's life insurance money with his son as a payment for that murder. And I can't get away from what a cold, preplanned, orchestrated attack this is. I mean, think about it. These aren't strangers that are having a financial business dispute. It's not some narcotics deal that went bad. I mean, these are family members, a husband having his own son, like, figure out how to carry out the homicide of his wife. And it's just a. It's incredibly cold and calculated. So next to interview on their list, investigators wanted to talk to Tyrone. She remembers the day of the murder. She said she was sitting at home reading her Bible when she got a phone call from William asking her to come pick him up somewhere in the neighborhood. Tyrone actually lived just a couple streets away from Tracy and Pauletta, so she drove to the location where William told her to pick him up. ** *** said he seemed agitated and asked to go somewhere where he could take a shower. She claimed to have no knowledge of anything that was going on. She said at one point Tracy called William Hysterical and she was like, what's that? Doubt, and he blew it off. She claimed that all of the knowledge she had about this homicide was after the fact. She did say that she knew he had thrown a gun over the bridge, and at that point she realized something bad had happened and so she took him back to the crime scene. So at this point, based on their interview with Tayone, do they have enough information on a Sega to step forward with the prosecution? I mean, I think it's kind of dodgy, iffy. You know, at most she is admitting to helping him destroy evidence, right? She sees he has a gun and he throws it off a bridge. But again, she's not saying that she knows that he's involved in the murder at all. So I really think it's a stretch here now, I think very quickly you can start to see that what she's saying doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I don't think you're going to get very far just on her statement alone. And there was more, because during William Fuller's interview with police, he led. On the fact that Tayon did have knowledge of the murder before it occurred. So is that going to be enough just based on that statement alone? And again, no, because knowledge itself is not a crime. But what he also said during his interview was much more than knowledge that she actually asked him to be the one to kill Pauletta. But then he also said it other times that she backed off of that, which in a way it's like is she really backing off of it or is there just a finessing of him in a different way, another puppet master? Making her very much involved in this crime and then yet again, there is another twist that is uncovered in this incredibly complicated investigation. During the interview with Tyone, she makes a stunning admission. She admitted to sleeping with William as well. I mean, she was engaged to his father, for heaven's sakes. This affair started two days after the killing. She admitted having sex with him one time, Williams said. They had sex multiple times. So when Tracy found out, he of course was upset and Tyrone was upset because now her fiance is upset and she basically told Tracy she felt like she was forced to have sex with him and they threw him out of the house. And that, to me, was honestly a piece of evidence that I would be bringing right to the jury as consciousness of guilt. And here's why. Because by itself, it doesn't mean anything. You know, these relationships form amongst different people all the time, but there had never been any indication that she had any feelings for him or was attracted to him. It was everything was about the father, right? She did everything for Tracy. But now, right after the murder, again, we all believe that William had feelings for her. So it's almost like a way of keeping him quiet and keeping him close to not implicate her or his dad in the murder. And I think when you couple that with what William said, that her trying to solicit him to do the crime, now this is starting to turn into legal responsibility, acting in concert for the murder itself. Remember how Tracy said that he had driven to the store and returned to find Polletta dead in the driveway? And I told I said probably I'll go down to the store. And she said OK, Tracy told investigators he had went to the store moments after arguing with his wife to pick up a bag of chips and a baby Ruth bar. She would just slumped over in the chair. But when officers begin to look in Tracy's car, they found no evidence that he had gotten anything. No chips, no chocolate bar, or even evidence that they had been consumed in the car. There was also blood spatter on the front of the car that Tracy was driving that he claimed was not at the murder at the time that it happened. And blood spatter shouldn't have been on the car. How could blood spatter from a gunshot to the back of Paulette's head? Reach the front grill of his car. If it wasn't in the driveway, I say not possible. The investigators actually took Tracy at his word and went out to check on that. They went out to the store and they talked to the clerk at the store and the clerk says, absolutely I know who that guy is. He's here all the time. We see him in and out of the store all the time. He didn't come here that night. And one more thing. Surveillance cameras at the store do not show Tracy even stepping inside that store on the night of the murder. When they put the various pieces, both big and small, on this investigation together, ultimately they charged three people, William, Tracy and Tyrone. So this is something that we often talk about on the podcast is when prosecutors decide to make a deal with the defendant to get them to be their star witness and sometimes, and in this case it is, it's the shooter. We normally don't like to cut a deal with the shooter. I mean, he's the one who's personally responsible for her death. If he hadn't done it, it wouldn't have happened, or at least not on that day and not that way. But we just felt like in this case that he was just so browbeaten, physically abused his whole life, that he was like putty in the hands of his father. His father was the mastermind behind all of this, and that's why we felt like it was appropriate to cut a deal with him so that he would testify against his father, who we believe to be the most culpable in this, and against tyone to make sure that justice was served. And William Fuller's testimony was key and critical to a conviction. William Fuller got 20 years for his agreement to testify for the prosecutor. But Tracy was convicted of capital murder and got life. And capital murder, the difference between that and other forms of murder is really just this. It's a different levels. In some states it'll be murder in the first degree and others with capital murder, it's really just murder plus an aggravating or additional factor. We often think about it if you're in the middle of committing another crime, a sexual assault, a kidnapping, something like that, or in this case, that aggravating factor is for money. Remember, they were supposed to get Paulette's life insurance policy, the proceeds, and then they were going to split it amongst themselves and last to go on trial. Was tayone. There are a lot of reasons why Tyrone's case was more difficult. She was just less culpable. She was not the driving force to get this crime committed. She was not the one pushing William on a daily basis. Also, the person she was before she met Tracy Burleson, she was kind, she was compassionate. She was a good mother to her kids. She was a good surrogate mother to William. She took this kid in. William was 20 years old. But I mean, he's still basically a kid. Took this sickly kid into her home, spent her money taking care of him. She hadn't been in any trouble, really, in her life. She seemed like a good and decent human being, so that's a huge hurdle. People have a hard time reconciling that woman with the woman who's involved in a murder. And then on top of that, it was hard for William to testify against her. He loved her. So when I think of this, seems like it's going to be a difficult lift for prosecutors. You've got people testifying that she did know. She's saying she was at home reading her Bible. She didn't know, you know. So the various different aspects go into the case. So one trial is done, but heavy lift in this one. Heaviest of them, and just it's a tough one. But when I look at it, the case against Tyrone is going to be all about putting together all those little pieces. You know, obviously she's having the relationship with Tracy and she very much wants to marry him. She's actually out shopping for wedding dresses right before. She is the one that moves up the date of the wedding and basically gives him the ultimatum. It's got to happen in this week. And remember, William says that she's actually soliciting him, asking him at different times to commit the murder and then I really think, you know, the piece that goes on top. Coming back to what I said, what I would call conscious of guilt is the fact that she now has a sexual relationship with him afterwards. Almost like to seal the deal of trying to make sure he doesn't give them up, because now she finally has what she wants. She has Tracy alter herself. So I really think it is just having to convince this jury that they have to use their common sense with all these little pieces that aren't proof in and of themselves. But when you tie them together, there's really no other reasonable possibility. Caroline was able to. Convince the jury that that's exactly what occurred and Tyrone was found guilty of murder and tampering with evidence. The sentence she received was only seven years, and seven years is going to make you sit up straight. That is not a whole lot of time if we're talking about being found guilty of murder. And I think in that jurisdiction the minimum was five, so she only got a little bit above that. But I almost look at it again. It comes down to maybe what the evidence was and how culpable they thought she was versus. Tracy but it's definitely a tough one to hear that someone's convicted of homicide and ends up with seven years. Yeah, for Carolyn and her team, unraveling this murderous plot was a maze of sex, lies and murder. You know? But in the end, and easier, the truth and the jury's decision spoke volumes. And in a way, this all comes down to some of Carolina's own views about her role as a prosecutor. My job as a prosecutor to seek justice and regardless of who the victim is, you know, everybody has certain rights and they have to be protected. Otherwise we're not the society that we need to be. You know, it doesn't matter who the victim is. They were still a living human being and no one has the right to take another person's life without due process of law. And there wasn't any in this case. Tracy's actions in this execution murder were nothing short of cold blooded. To drag his own son into this plot to pull the trigger is on a whole new level of evil. There was more than enough evidence that William Fuller was a young man looking for direction in his life. But the two most important people in his life cared only for themselves, and they were willing to sacrifice everything and anybody to get what they wanted. TuneIn next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. The murder is an audio Chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and Versetti Media. Ashley Flowers and submit David are executive producers. So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve?