Athens man acquitted in Clarke County Superior Court of murder in June 2019 shooting death

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An Athens man was acquitted Friday of malice and felony murder in Clarke County Superior Court.

Willie Tremaine Evans, 26, was charged in the June 2019 shooting death of David Lee Burnette, 51, who was found slain in his University Oaks apartment on West Broad Street.

Testimony and arguments in the trial ended Thursday, and Superior Court Judge Patrick Haggard sent the jury of six women and six men home for the evening before they continued deliberations Friday.

Evans was represented by Western Circuit Public Defender John Donnelly and Assistant Rachel Williams, the latter who told the jury the state has “woefully little evidence.”

She told the jury that Burnette deserved justice, but “not justice by the way of convicting the wrong person.”

The prosecutors, Western Circuit Assistant District Attorneys Gerald Henderson and Zaine Thistle, based much of their case on the alleged murder weapon, a .380-caliber Hi-Point pistol.

Bullet casings at the scene matched a gun carried by Evans, according to the prosecutors.

“He was caught red-handed with the murder weapon,” Henderson argued.

Evans was arrested two months after the slaying in Polk County, Fla., where he was interrogated about the crime. He denied killing Burnette, although police testified Evans possessed the murder weapon, which was linked to the crime through forensic testing.

Evans told police he found the gun near Jimmy Daniel Road in Oconee County.

Police had said earlier they believed robbery was the motive for the crime. The state also produced evidence that Burnette sold marijuana out of his apartment.

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Athens man acquitted of murder in June 2019 shooting death

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