LIVE BLOG: Verdict reached in the Upatoi triple murder trial

Rufus Burks (Source: Muscogee County Jail)
Rufus Burks (Source: Muscogee County Jail)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Jurors have reached a verdict in the Upatoi trial.

Rufus Burks, 17, was on trial for the deaths of Gloria Short, her son Caleb short, and granddaughter Gianna Lindsey.

Burks was found guilty of one count of felony murder, two counts of theft by taking, and guilty for one count of kidnapping and burglary.

A mistrial was declared for the remaining five charges of malice murder and felony murder where a unanimous vote was not found.

Defense attorney, Jennifer Curry spoke to News Leader 9 following the verdict.

"After the amount of time the jury spent deliberating, the pressure that was put on them, being sent back again and again, and being told they needed to continue working toward a unanimous verdict, I believe they were extremely tired, stressed really stressed, and pressured, " said Curry.

Curry stands by her argument that her client had no motive to brutally murder the three family members in the manner they were killed.

Curry says she called for a mistrial repeatedly. "When there wasn't any significant movement by the jury, I asked for another mistrial. There was quite a bit of discussion about taking the partial verdict," said Curry.

"I did move for a mistrial several times. I started asking for one, just two days after deliberations started," she added.

"How much is a life worth? Two lives? Three lives? Certainly more than some Jordans, some Playstation 4 games, and some clothes," said Assistant District Attorney, Christopher Williams.

The sentencing phase of the trial will be held March 23 at Columbus Recorder's Court. All three suspects involved in the case, Rufus Burks, Raheam Gibson, and Javarceay Tapley will be in the courtroom.

Suspects Raheem Gibson and Javarceay Tapley pleaded guilty before the jury was seated.

Follow News Leader 9's Sharifa Jackson for live updates.

Follow News Leader 9's Sharifa Jackson for updates.

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