Family responds after suspects plead not guilty in Upatoi triple murder

Family responds after suspects plead not guilty in Upatoi triple murder

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - On Monday afternoon the third and final suspect charged for January's triple murder in Upatoi, GA appeared in court, pleading not guilty to all charges including three counts of murder.

Rufus Burks, 15, is being tried as an adult in the murders of Gloria Short, her son Caleb Short and her 10-year-old granddaughter Gianna Lindsey. 

Shameika Averett, still mourning the loss of her mother, brother, and daughter, sat in court Monday afternoon as the third suspect in this triple murder went before a judge and denied his involvement in the crime. 

"Seeing the suspect that's hard because it takes you back to the very beginning because you hear some things about what happened to your loved ones that you don't want to hear and unfortunately you have to sit through all of that," says Averrett.

Jennifer Curry, Burks' defense attorney, questioned the prosecution about their lack of evidence against her client and asks the community to refrain from making judgments about Burks until the case is over.

"My client maintains his innocence. Under the United States Constitution he is presumed to be innocent at this time. We ask that the public remember that and keep that in mind," Curry said. 

Curry also questioned the prosecution about their lack of evidence against her client.

Columbus police investigators revealed in court that Gloria and Gianna Lindsey were both stabbed to death and the items that were stolen from their Bentley Drive home included clothing, shoes, a Playstation, six games, Beats by Dre headphones, $600 in cash and two vehicles.

"It's a little disheartening that he pleaded not guilty but we expected that though," says Averrett.

Police believe the suspects used a moped and mountain bikes to get to the home, but say they have not been able to recover them.

Burks remains in police custody. His case is being bound over to Superior Court.

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