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June 7--  The mother of a Vidalia men's store manager killed during a robbery last November has filed a wrongful death complaint against the City of Vidalia and three other defendants named in the complaint.

Cathy Brandenburg is the mother of murder victim Brooke Joiner and the guardian of the dead woman's eight-year-old son.

The complaint claims the Vidalia Police Department twice had contact with the man accused in the killing, Tyrone Burns, Jr, and failed to investigate his status as a violent probationer from Florida.  It alleges an investigation would have required his immediate incarceration and that failure to do so led directly to the shooting of Brooke Joiner at R.J. Pope's Menswear.

In April, 2018, Burns was found mentally incompetent to stand trial by a Florida judge and was remanded to his father in Lakeland for supervision and to an outpatient mental health company, Centerstone of Florida, Inc. for mental health treatment and to another agency for substance abuse treatment. 

The complaint also names Burns, his father and Centerstone as defendants.  It claims Tyrone Burns, Sr. and Centerstone violated the Florida court order by failing to report Burns left Florida and their failure allowed him to roam the streets of Vidalia for months prior to the killing of Brooke Joiner.  

Cathy Brandenburg is seeking damages to compensate her grandson for his mother's death, to help raise him and for pain and suffering.  She is asking for a jury trial and that the defendants pay for attorney's fees and litigation expenses.

A Savannah law firm filed the complaint in Toombs County Superior Court Monday, June 3.  City Manager Nick Overstreet reported the filing on Friday, June 7 and said the city can't comment on pending litigation.

The case has already cost the City of Vidalia more than $94,000 when it violated its own personnel policies in an initial attempt to fire its police chief.

Chief Frank Waits' termination ultimatum came after members of the Vidalia City Council conferred with Middle Judicial Circuit District Attorney Hayward Altman concerning the police department's handling of the suspect in the R.J. Pope Men's Wear murder case last November. 

Suspect Tyrone Burns had been questioned by Vidalia Police about two weeks prior to the murder of store manager Brooke Joiner during an armed robbery.  He was questioned about a domestic violence altercation with his girlfriend and released when she was deemed  "an uncooperative witness" by police.

The domestic dispute was not the only contact Vidalia police had with Burns. On September 28, he was charged with a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass and booked into the Toombs County jail.  He was released on a $2,500 bond two days later.

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight says his office ran a check on Burns when he was booked into the jail and the national tracking system revealed no outstanding warrants on Burns in Florida nor anywhere else.

The complaint also reports Burns allegedly threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and her kids at her home on Peacock Street in Vidalia on November 13, 2018, three days before he allegedly murdered Brooke Joiner.  The police report on the incident said he had left the house by the time police arrived to investigate the threat.

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