Originally created 04/23/04

Prosecutors will seek death penalty in Tamara Dunstan case

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the case of Ronald Francis Burke Jr., who is charged in the death of Tamara Dunstan, according to a court document obtained today.

The document, filed with Richmond County Superior Court, states that the death penalty is being sought based on four circumstances, the first of which notes the killing of Mrs. Dunstan during a burglary.

Also listed as a circumstance is the killing of Mrs. Dunstan, which the court document states "was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture or depravity of mind, or an aggravated battery to the victim."

Other reasons are the killing of Mrs. Dunstan during her kidnapping, considered a capital felony; and the killing of Mrs. Dunstan's unborn child, the document states. Mrs. Dunstan was three months pregnant at the time of her abduction, which occurred April 15 at her mother's west Augusta house. Mr. Burke was arrested three days later after he admitted to the killing and led authorities to the body of Mrs. Dunstan in rural Edgefield County, police said.


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