Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Appeals Court Affirms Consecutive Life Sentences

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed the imposition of consecutive life sentences on a man convicted of killing two people in Putnam County in 2007. James Anthony Burgess was convicted of murdering his estranged wife, Elizabeth, and her friend, Jimmy Prewitt, and was given an effective sentence of two consecutive life sentences plus 13 years. On appeal, his lawyer had argued that the judge had made a mistake in the sentencing, but -- in an opinion filed Wednesday -- the appeals court disagreed. However, the court did note that Burgess could not -- under state law -- be found guilty of both murder and especially aggravated burglary, even though he broke into the home to commit the crimes. They have ordered that his sentence for especially aggravated burglary be modified to one for aggravated burglary. But, in all other respects, they upheld the decision of the Criminal Court and Judge David Patterson.