Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

Possible delay in Burch murder case

Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 07:53 PM

Lawyers representing the man accused of murdering a retired teacher filed a document in court Thursday suggesting they may have a potential conflict of interest handling this case.

Byron Keith Burch, 41, has been charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary for the May 15, 2010, killing of Sarah Davis, 80, in her Brooksville home. At the time, deputies told Hernando Today that Burch, also known as "One Eye Jack," killed Davis so he could steal her jewelry and sell it for drug money. Davis had hired Burch to do odd jobs at her house.

Circuit Judge Daniel Merritt Jr. met with Burch's lawyers in his chambers, along with a court reporter.

Without elaborating, Judge Merritt said what he learned was "disconcerting" and might "throw a wrench in the works."

Prosecutor Pete Magrino said Judge Merritt has not ruled on the conflict of interest, because he has requested additional information from the attornies, who work for the public defenders office. If a conflict of interest is found, Burch will need new representation. The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 4.

The state attorney's office is seeking the death penalty against Burch. If convicted, it would be his 10th felony, according to court records. Burch's murder trial is set for Feb. 4, however that could change if new representation is required.

In September, the former Newgate Road was renamed Sarah F. Davis Drive in her memory. Davis taught at Moton Elementary School for 30 years. After retiring from teaching, Davis worked for the sheriff's office for another 15 years. (352) 544-5283

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