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Jan. 4 marks four years since horrific Upatoi triple murder

Updated: Jan. 3, 2020 at 6:16 PM EST
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UPATOI, Ga. (WTVM) - It has been four years since a nightmare struck a family in Upatoi as one woman lost her mother, brother, and daughter in a brutal murder.

Gloria Short, her 17-year-old son Caleb Short, and her 10-year-old granddaughter Gianna Lindsey were found brutally beaten and murdered in their Bentley Dr. home on Jan. 4, 2016.

Three people were arrested and have since been convicted of the murders: Javarceay Tapley, Raheem Gibson, and Rufus Burks.

Tapley, a family friend of the Short’s, and Gibson pleaded guilty to the charges against them, leaving Burks as the only defendant to stand trial. Burks was found guilty of five of ten charges against him.

In an interview with News Leader 9′s Barbara Gauthier after the three men’s conviction, Shameika Averett, who lost her mother, brother and daughter, described Tapley’s actions as “pure evil.”

“I try not to think about what they could have went through, I think about my only child, my brother, my mother and that’s the only way I can describe it, pure evil,” said Averett. “There is nothing that my mother would not have given him. That’s how she was, that’s the kind of woman she was so there’s nothing that he would have had to take."

Burks was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for kidnapping and burglary, 20 years with 15 years to serve for burglary, and two ten year sentences for theft charges. Tapley was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Gibson was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

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