Upatoi Killer Requests New Trial
Rufus Burks Appears in Court With Motion For New Trial
Convicted Upatoi killer Rufus Burks is asking for a new trial in Columbus. Burks was the only one of three defendants charged with the triple slaying of the Short Family to actually stand trial. Now 19 years old, the Columbus teen was ushered back into Superior Court represented by a public defender who filed the Motion for a new trial.
Burks was just 15 years old when he biked several miles from South Columbus with his co-defendants Jeverceay Tapley and Raheem Gibson to the Short family home in Upatoi. Three generations of the family were bludgeoned to death for name brand tennis shoes, video games and cash in one of the most ghastly crimes ever recorded in Muscogee County.
During his trial, Burks maintained he helped tie up the victims but did not actively participate in the murder of Caleb Short, Gloria Short or Gianna Lindsey. He was found guilty and sentenced to Life plus 15 years and is currently housed at the Wilcox State Prison.
The Public Defender now representing Rufus Burks told the judge he wanted more time to review transcripts from the trial and sealed exhibits including sensitive crime scene photos.
“Because when you’ve got a sealed document even I can’t go take a look at it in the clerk’s office so I need those unsealed to see first of all what they are and if they are photographs that were never shown to the Jury that’s probably not something that’s going to come up anyway,” Burks court appointed attorney Jose Guzman told First News after the hearing.
The exact premises for a new trial remains a mystery for now but Guzman did notify the court he would hire an expert witness. “Part of the possible rationale for a new trial would be ineffective assistance of Counsel and if an expert would have assisted in the Defense and one was not called that’s definitely something I would have to take a look at um and so that’s part of the reason that we’re going to be obtaining an expert just to see if ti’s something that uh could have made a difference,” Guzman said.