1984 Whitfield County murder case goes to jury

WHITFIELD COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) — Jurors deliberated for several hours on Wednesday in the case of a man accused of a 1984 Whitfield County murder. Around 8 p.m. they stopped for the night.

In the morning at Jay Burlison’s murder trial, the lead investigator, relatives, and Burlison himself took the stand. He is accused of shooting and killing Ernest Griffin at a convenience store.

Prosecutors say he had been on the run for more than three decades, before he was arrested in July. Burlison’s brother says late last year his brother contacted him because he needed help with medical care.

“He came back into my life and I was surprised to be honest with you.”

“You hadn’t seen him in the interim?” asked Bert Poston, the District Attorney.

“I thought he was dead,” the brother said.

He didn’t realize his brother had warrants out for him.

“You had asked him about the events in Dalton and he indicated that was all taken care of years ago, you remember that?” Poston asked.

“That was my understanding.”

Burlison then took the stand. He says he feared his wife at the time, Mary Mealer, would kill him. He says once she put pieces of glass in her food.

“Who put it there?” asked Micah Gates, the defense attorney.

“The only one I could think of was Mary. I went to the hospital to get ready to do emergency surgery and the blood stopped like that, it just passed through me,” Burlison said.

Burlison says he went to the convenience store the night of the fatal shooting to tell his wife he was leaving. He says when he got there he saw Mealer, Griffin, and another man, who he says was the shooter.

“The guy that she was talking to turned around and come charging at me, I don’t know if it was a gun. Anyway, I duck down and come back up and when I did I heard a shot go off. It sounded like a shot.”

Before going to the jury, the state and defense presented their closing arguments.

Gates told jurors evidence was lost and witnesses for the state were unreliable.

“You have a bunch of people who are just window dressing and don’t know what actually happened that night. And then you have an attempted murder and a child rapist, who lies under oath, ” Gates said.

Prosecutors told the jury Burlison’s story of why he was on the run doesn’t add up.

“Who is looking for him? The police are looking for him. He knows what he has done. He knows they are after him,” Poston said.

The jury will resume deliberations on Thursday morning.


Categories: Local News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *