Get the latest weather forecast!

November 19--  The man accused of killing a Vidalia men's store manager has admitted to the crime, according to Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight.

"He gave some admissions of being there and gave some pretty incredible information on what happened," the sheriff said.  Sheriff Kight said four-and-a-half hours of interrogation by Sheriff's Captain Jordan Kight led to the admissions in the shooting death of 31-year-old Brooke Joiner during an armed robbery at R.J. Pope's Menswear Friday afternoon in Vidalia.

Sheriff Kight arrested 29-year-old Tyrone Burns Saturday morning when he saw him walking on Bay Street and recognized red shoes and a black hoodie which he had seen on video obtained from the Verizon store after the shooting.  He was unarmed and offered no resistance.

burnscourtBurns escorted from the courtroom by Toombs County Sheriff's Deputies following his first appearance hearing.

At his first appearance hearing Monday in Toombs County Superior Court, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Wilson reported Burns has an extensive criminal record in Florida, "He has approximately 40 pages of criminal history in Florida including three prior felony convictions."

She also said a Florida judge had given Burns a conditional release this April ruling that he was "mentally incompetent to proceed" on a Florida charge.  In September, he was arrested in Vidalia for criminal trespass.

Superior Court Kathy Palmer said she will approve a request for mental evaluation of Burns, however, Sheriff Kight says the man knows what he is doing, "He is not mentally incompetent.  He is very street smart, he's prison smart and knows how to talk the talk.  There's nothing that I saw where he would be incompetent."

Sheriff Kight says the shooting was not gang related, however, he reported Burns has been associated with a gang in this area.

A nine millimeter bullet which police believe pierced Brooke Joiner's body apparently went through the wall of the room where she was killed and was found next door in Palmer Furniture Company which is adjacent to R.J. Pope's.  A nine millimeter shell casing was recovered in the room.

Burns has not yet revealed why he chose to shoot Brooke Joiner, but Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits believes, "There are some people who are just downright mean and, in my opinion, this was one of them.  There was no need to kill that young girl."

Judge Palmer warned Burns at his hearing one of the sentences he could face if found guilty is the death penalty, "One possible punishment is the death penalty. There have to be aggravating factors for the state to seek the death penalty and that is a determination the prosecutor will have to go through and determine at a later time."

Court officials said District Attorney Hayward Altman will meet with the family before he decides if the death penalty will be sought.

Sheriff Kight joined Chief Frank Waits in expressing his condolences, "It has hit us hard here in this community and my condolences go to the family."

The next meeting of the Toombs County grand jury is scheduled for December 10 and ADA Wilson says indictments against Burns could be sought at that time.

For staff use only.