Lockhart confesses to murder; formal plea not admitted

Mar. 11, 2008

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM)--  In an unexpected turn of events, Lauren Burk's accused murderer confesses to the crime. Twenty-three year old Courtney Lockhart admits to kidnapping the 18 year old Auburn freshman - forcing her to undress, and shooting her.

Lee County Judge Jacob Walker read an affidavit, Monday afternoon, charging Lockhart on three counts: capital murder during kidnapping; capital murder during robbery; and capital murder during an attempted rape.

Judge Walker read Lockhart's written confession in court. In the document, Lockhart admitted to forcing Burk into her car and robbing her of personal property. The judge also read from an affidavit, that Lockhart drove Burk's car; made her take off her clothes; and shot her with a handgun. Afterwards, as mentioned in the affidavit, Lockhart drove Burk's car back to Auburn's campus and set it on fire.

Lockhart turned his face to his family during Monday's hearing. Dozens of his relatives were there, including his mother, Catherine Williams, who apoligized to the Burk Family this past weekend.

She told News Leader 9 on March 8, "Courtney has just not been the same since he got back home, and I am so sorry that Courtney did this."

Elizabeth White - Reporter: "Since he got back home from where?"

Williams: "Since he's been home from Iraq, my baby hasn't been the same."

Despite his confession, Lockhart though, did not enter a formal plea of guilty or not guilty.

A Grand Jury could hear this case in April, but the District Attorney says Lockhart's trial may not begin for another year.

After the trial, Lockhart was formally transferred to the Lee County Detention Center where no bond has been set.

If convicted, he could get the death penalty.

Columbus Police say Lockhart is same person who held up a 27 year old mother and her three year son at gun point in the parking lot of Sam's Club on Whittlesey Boulevard, on March 6.  Lockhart allegedly took the woman's purse and drove off in a two door car with Alabama license plates.

A surveillance camera captures the likeness of Lockhart attempting to carjack an older woman on Friday, March 7, at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Newnan, Georgia.

Witnesses there noted his Lee County license plate. Hours later, Lockhart was captured by police in Phenix City, where a hand gun was found in his possession. That same pistol has been linked to the murder of Auburn freshman Lauren Burk.

Written by: Fadell Pitts - Internet Producer