Slain SC serial killing suspect had long rap sheet

  • Follow Metro

GAFFNEY, S.C. - The serial killer who terrorized a South Carolina community by shooting five people to death before police killed him Monday was a career criminal paroled just two months ago, authorities said.

Bill Blanton, Cherokee County Sheriff gives a news conference to confirm that Patrick Tracy Burris, who was shot and killed by police in Gastonia, NC, was the same person who killed five people in the Gaffney, SC, area over the last two weeks.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Bill Blanton, Cherokee County Sheriff gives a news conference to confirm that Patrick Tracy Burris, who was shot and killed by police in Gastonia, NC, was the same person who killed five people in the Gaffney, SC, area over the last two weeks.

Patrick Burris, 41, was shot to death by officers investigating a burglary complaint at a home in Gastonia, N.C., 30 miles from where the killing spree started June 27. Ballistics tests showed his gun matched the one used to kill residents in and around Gaffney over six days last week, said State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd.

Investigators did not have an address for Burris. While evidence left no doubt he was the killer, they still had no idea why he did it.

"He was unpredictable. He was scary. He was weird," said SLED Deputy Director Neil Dolan.

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. He had been paroled from a North Carolina prison in April after serving nearly eight years for felony breaking and entering and larceny.

"Look at this," Lloyd said, waving a stapled copy of Burris' criminal record. "This is like 25 pages. At some point the criminal justice system is going to need to explain why this suspect was out on the street."

Gaffney farmer Sam Howell, 61, was among dozens of people from Cherokee County who came to the news conference where authorities identified Burris.

"My prayers were answered. He got what he deserved," Howell said. "He scared the hell out of everyone. I guess we can feel better but we've lost some of our innocence."

The mystery ended in Gastonia early Monday after Mike and Terry Valentine called police to report a suspicious sport utility vehicle in their neighborhood.

They were on edge because the Gaffney serial killer was just a short drive away.

They watched two people who sometimes visit the neighboring home get out of the vehicle, followed by a third man who matched the description of the killer: tall, heavyset, unshaven and wearing a baseball cap. The man appeared to be very drunk, Mike Valentine said.

When officers went inside, Terri Valentine said she heard someone yell "put it down" and heard a gunshot.

Then "bam, bam, bam, bam. Next thing I know, all of Gaston County was here," she said.

Gaston County police said the other two people were in custody, but did not indicate whether they were facing charges.

The Gaffney killings happened in a 10-mile area over six days. Peach farmer Kline Cash, 63, was killed June 27 and 83-year-old Hazel Linder and her daughter, 50-year-old Gena Linder Parker, were found bound and shot in the older woman's home four days later. The next day, Stephen Tyler and his 15-year-old daughter Abby were found shot in their family's furniture store.

The investigation isn't over, and Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said investigators will trace the suspect's recent activities and trying to figure out if he has killed other people in other places.

"Now we have someone we can focus on," Blanton said.

He said he hopes the arrest calms the fears of 54,000 people in the county 50 miles west of Charlotte, N.C., known for its peach orchards and mills.

"We feel the victims' pain," Blanton said. "This isn't over. We're just changing gears."

Comments (20) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 07/07/09 - 01:29 am
0
0
When did he go to jail? It

When did he go to jail? It said he served 8 years, but how long was he originally sentenced for? When did that shooting at the fast food restaurant in South Carolina happen. He reminds me of the guy in that sketch, except his face is thicker. Prison food could do that, though.

Just My Opinion
6086
Points
Just My Opinion 07/07/09 - 03:51 am
0
0
Thank goodness for those

Thank goodness for those neighbors who cared enough to get involved and call the police! People, we all have to be more aware of what's going on around us and get involved, rather than just ignore things and say "It's none of my business!". Too many of us just drive home, close our garage doors, and hardly ever make an attempt to so much as wave to our neighbors, let alone actually TALK to them to find out who they are. I've told all my neighbors that if they see ANYTHING suspicious at my house when we're away, to please call me or the police. Better to be safe than sorry.

smbga
38
Points
smbga 07/07/09 - 04:41 am
0
0
thank god it's over. and

thank god it's over. and it's very sad and tragic for the ones who died at this man's hands. we have to keep our eyes and ears open 24/7.

g-dog express
0
Points
g-dog express 07/07/09 - 04:54 am
0
0
This is what the gubbamint

This is what the gubbamint did for the people of North Carolina. Why would they let a person like this out. They said in the article, "He was unpredictable. He was scary. He was weird," Dang, sounds like he needs to be in the public. The folks who let him out should serve the time Patrick Burris should but cant since he is dead.

onecatfish
5
Points
onecatfish 07/07/09 - 05:08 am
0
0
stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 07/07/09 - 06:12 am
0
0
I guess no one knew he was

I guess no one knew he was capable of such a crime. I pray for all the family members affected by this maniac and he surely got what he deserved, obviously he was a mad man.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 07/07/09 - 06:17 am
0
0
Thanks for that link

Thanks for that link onecatfish, it looks as if he served almost all of his original sentence, I guess that they really could not hve held him much longer anyway.......such a shame, perhaps with mental health counseling in prison someone may have picked but on something but even if they had they still could not have held him past his release date.

Boston93
117
Points
Boston93 07/07/09 - 06:30 am
0
0
Whew! Another one bites the

Whew! Another one bites the dust. Good job. Sorry it went this far that included several deaths. God Bless those that lost loved ones.

SomeTruthPlease
0
Points
SomeTruthPlease 07/07/09 - 06:38 am
0
0
http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.

http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/opi/viewoffender.do?method=view&offender...

This is the NC list of his incarceration dates/prison infractions. It's a long one, and keep in mind that this is only for NC.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 07/07/09 - 06:43 am
0
0
Glad he's dead, and the death

Glad he's dead, and the death spree is over. He saved us a bunch of money. Way to go Law Enforcement !! Allen Hunt this weekend was saying that the death penalty is wrong. It is not wrong -- it just takes too long, and costs too much. Like Texas, let's set up an "Express Lane" for all those waiting, and costing us a lot of money. Everyone can breathe a little easier now.

Marko
0
Points
Marko 07/07/09 - 06:57 am
0
0
Looks like the guy got the

Looks like the guy got the death penalty and kuddos to the Gastonia, NC Police for saving Cherokee County, SC a whole lot of money.

Native007
4
Points
Native007 07/07/09 - 07:10 am
0
0
Good job! One less insect

Good job! One less insect that we have to pay for.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 07/07/09 - 07:20 am
0
0
Where's Joe Arpiao? He'd be
Unpublished

Where's Joe Arpiao? He'd be in a pink suit out in tent city if he were in Arizona

DEVGRU
0
Points
DEVGRU 07/07/09 - 09:22 am
0
0
Unfortunately he was in

Unfortunately he was in prison when the North Augusta shootings took place, so there is another one just like him somewhere out there.

Ode
5
Points
Ode 07/07/09 - 11:36 am
0
0
This guy has been a felon for

This guy has been a felon for 20 years in and out of the prison system. Until our judical system starts enforcing capital punishment on repeat felons and those who commit violent crimes then get your carry permit and never leave home without your protection. The wild west days are upon us while the liberals sing and dance for the rights of criminals and reduced sentences and 3rd and 4th chances and rehab and all that nonsense that only allows criminals to prey on law abiding citizens over and over.

3headedbeast
0
Points
3headedbeast 07/07/09 - 11:53 am
0
0
Judicial system worked in his

Judicial system worked in his favor now they will pay the cost of lives lost by a terrorist thug.

willistontownsc
55
Points
willistontownsc 07/07/09 - 12:05 pm
0
0
The long nightmare in South

The long nightmare in South Carolina and the Upstate is over. Yes! Mr. Patrick Burris deserved to be killed by cops.

sayitaintso_bo
0
Points
sayitaintso_bo 07/07/09 - 01:54 pm
0
0
This is what happens when

This is what happens when criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens, now how long was that rap sheet???? Did I read willi right?

O_O
0
Points
O_O 07/07/09 - 02:54 pm
0
0
willistonsc, according to my

willistonsc, according to my reading, always defends the rights of aframs to kill and not be shot down by the police because they, the afram killers, are so downtrodden, deprived and discriminated against. I'm not at all surprised he applauds the righteous kill carried out against the late pale Mr. Burris. Why wouldn't he?

cparker
83
Points
cparker 07/07/09 - 06:16 pm
0
0
Immorality has no race, no

Immorality has no race, no gender, and no address!!

Grasshopper
7
Points
Grasshopper 07/07/09 - 07:30 pm
0
0
Posted by Ode on Tue Jul 7,

Posted by Ode on Tue Jul 7, 2009 12:36 PM Right On!

willistontownsc
55
Points
willistontownsc 07/08/09 - 07:46 am
0
0
O_O, serial killers terrorize

O_O, serial killers terrorize a community. And some are black. The DC snipers, for e.g.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs