Monday, July 6, 2009
SC Serial Killer Shot And Killed
This is a story I've been following since Independence Day when I learned that people were afraid to go out for the holiday because of a series of recent murders. When you drive past Gaffney on your way to points south, you don't associate it serial killers. Instead you think "Peach" as you look to the water tower that is shaped like a giant peach. and Georgia thinks they have the sole claim on peaches.) I would venture to say it is one of those places where people tell reporters.
I didn't really know anything about the killings until the news had lead with a story of a suspected serial killer in Gaffney SC. "Gaffney?" I said. "That's the place that has the water tower. I always look for it as a landmark. You know sort of like the South of the Border signs."
The victims all lived within ten miles of each other. The first murder on June 27, 2009 in Gaffney, South Carolina. Peach farmer Kline Cash's wife informed investigators that she and her husband, 63, had spoken to a man about buying hay. After Mrs. Cash left to run some errands, the man returned, and shot and killed her husband in the Cash's living room, where she found his body upon her return.
Four days later, on July 1, Burris killed Hazel Linder, 83, and her 50-year-old daughter, Gena Linder Parker. They were bound and shot to death. The following day, Stephen Tyler, 45, was killed in his family's appliance and furniture store; his fifteen year old daughter Abby was shot and seriously injured when she came to check on her father. The two were found by Tyler's wife, his older daughter and an employee. Abby Tyler, 15, died about 11:15 a.m. at a Spartanburg hospital after fighting for her life for two days. Tyler was wounded and her father was killed Thursday as they worked to close the Tyler Home Center near downtown Gaffney.
There was a manhunt for a serial killer which had now become news nationwide. They had a sketch of the suspect and a description of the suspects vehicle. In such a small town I imagined that the impact of these deaths must be great. People were afraid to even go out to celebrate the Fourth of July. They were almost virtual prisoners in their own homes. Like many others I hoped that the person responsible would soon be found.
Little did anyone know, certainly not me, the suspect would be shot and killed today.
Authorities reported that a burglary suspect slain in North Carolina was the man wanted as the serial killer in South Carolina. Suspected killer Patrick Burris, 41, was a career criminal paroled just two months ago, authorities said. He was shot to death by officers investigating a burglary complaint at a home in Gastonia, North Carolina, 30 miles from where the killing spree started June 27.
Ballistics tests showed Burris's gun matched the one that killed residents in and around Gaffney over six days last week, SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd said.
Burris had a long rap sheet filled with convictions for larceny, forgery and breaking and entering in states across the Southeast, including Florida, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. At the time of his death, he had a criminal record running to more than 25 pages in length, and had just served an 8-year sentence in jail and was released in April 2009.
Investigators are now trying to determine if Burris is responsible for more murders