View Full Version : Auburn University Freshman Murdered Near Campus
March 5th, 2008, 07:56 PM
A female Auburn University student was found shot near the Alabama school Tuesday night, a half-hour before her car was found engulfed in flames on campus, Auburn police announced this morning.
Lauren A. Burk, 18, was taken to the East Alabama Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, according to the Auburn Police Department.
Shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, authorities responded to a call about an injured female along Alabama Highway 147 near the university. There, they found Burk, who had been shot once.
March 8th, 2008, 01:15 AM
An arrest has been made of a person of interest.
November 19th, 2010, 12:37 PM
A former Army soldier who claimed to be mentally disturbed from his deployment in Iraq was convicted of capital murder Thursday in the abduction and shooting death of an Auburn University student from Georgia.
Jurors deliberated about six-and-a-half hours over two days before convicting Courtney Lockhart, 26, of rural Smith Station, in the killing of 18-year-old freshman Lauren Burk of Marietta, Ga.
Wearing a black suit, Lockhart sat calmly with his lawyers and showed no emotion when Circuit Judge Jacob Walker read the verdict. Burk's family members, mostly sitting behind the prosecution table, began hugging each other and patting each other on the back.
Jurors then voted 12-0 after deliberating for another hour to recommend sentencing him to life in prison without parole, rather than death by injection. The judge is not bound by the jury's recommendation. He tentatively set sentencing for Jan. 28.
Burk was abducted on the night of March 4, 2008, as she got into her car in a campus parking lot after visiting her boyfriend. According to statements given by Lockhart, he pulled a gun on the screaming student, trying to rob her, and forced her into her car as he drove it off.
During the argued sentencing, jurors heard emotional testimony from Lockhart's mother and father, who expressed sorrow for the grief the son caused the Burk family.
His mother, Catherine Lockhart Williams, tearfully apologized to Burk's mother, who was sitting in the front row of the gallery.
"I just want to say to you and your whole family that I am sorry. I feel your pain because I am a mother, too. If I could I would get up and hug you but they probably wouldn't let me do that," said Williams.
In a statement to police read to jurors earlier during the trial, Lockhart said he ordered her to disrobe, not to have sex with her but because he thought it would make her less likely to escape the car. At one point Lockhart said he spoke of his problems: "We started talking about how my life was over. She said she could help me get a job," he said in a written statement.
But Burk was shot in the back at close range as she opened the door and jumped from the car.
"I just had the gun right there and it went off," Lockhart was heard saying on a mostly garbled videotape played at the trial.
The nude student collapsed on the road and bled to death as Lockhart drove off and later burned the car on the Auburn campus. He was captured three days later in Phenix City after a car chase when he was a suspect in a robbery attempt in Newnan, Ga.
Prosecutor Kisha Abercrombie said in closing arguments Wednesday that the defendant knew his revolver was ready to fire as he drove Burk's car on rural roads near Auburn.
"He knew that the gun was cocked. After he killed her ... he started covering his tracks," Abercrombie said.
But defense attorney Joel Collins argued that if Lockhart had wanted to kill the student, he could have done it when he first grabbed her in the parking lot or pulled off the road at any time and shot her.
Lee County District Attorney Nick Abbett raised Lockhart's military experience as a reason the shooting wasn't accidental.
"Someone who has been in combat knows how to handle a weapon," Abbett said. "He pointed the gun at her, with the hammer cocked back."
Though Lockhart's attorneys argued he had mental troubles, a psychologist who testified for the defense could not say for certain that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Another psychologist for the prosecution told the jury that Lockhart showed no signs of mental disorder and understood that what he did was wrong.
March 2nd, 2011, 04:29 PM
Nice to see a judge with balls once in awhile
Judge imposes death penalty, outburst delays Courtney Lockhart trial
AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - A judge in a murder trial overrode the jury's recommendation and is imposing the death penalty for 26-year-old Courtney Lockhart.
The sentencing trial was delayed for five minutes when the man convicted of killing an Auburn University student, Lauren Burk, shouted out at the victim's father in court Wednesday.
Not long after taking the stand, Burk's father remarked he hopes Lockhart's daughter never goes through what Lauren Burk went through.
Lockhart screamed back from his seat, "I'm sorry for what happened, but don't bring my daughter into this!" That's when sheriff's deputies converged on him.
Wednesday morning, the state asked Judge Jacob Walker to override the jury recommendation and impose the death sentence. Judge Walker says told the courtroom that Lockhart, an Iraq War veteran, deserved the death sentence and was suspected in other crimes that the jury did not know about.
Photo taken from a public online memorial dedicated to Burk on Facebook.com.
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