The Norman Transcript

February 23, 2013

D.A. files first-degree murder, arson charges

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Charges were filed Friday in Cleveland County District Court against Mary Courtney Cheyenne York, 19, and Christopher Cody King, 24, for allegedly killing a Norman man on Feb. 13.

York and King are charged with arson and the first degree murder of Patrick D. Burton, 51. King is also charged with larceny of a motor vehicle.

Police reports indicate that King is believed to have pulled the trigger, but that York is suspected of facilitating the meeting that led to robbery and to Burton’s death. The murder charges are filed as “malice aforethought” or felony murder.

“It prevents them from arguing that, ‘Oh, we were just robbing him, we didn’t mean to kill him,’” District Attorney Greg Mashburn. “It covers both possibilities.”

Mashburn said he does not know if he will file a Bill of Particulars to ask for the death penalty because the crime is still under investigation.

“The Norman Police Department has worked tirelessly,” Mashburn said. “We continue to get more and more information every day.”

At 11 a.m. on Feb. 13, the Norman Emergency Communications Center received the report of a fire at 619 Villa Drive. Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said when firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was coming from a roof vent.

After extinguishing the fire, firefighters found Burton, with thermal burns, lying near a bedroom. The body of the family’s dog, Jake, also was discovered in the home.

The Chief Medical Examiner found that Burton died as a result of a gunshot wound prior to the fire being set.

Burton lived, according to neighbors, quietly in his Norman home with his mother, Tina Burton, who was out of town at the time of his death.

The probable cause affidavit filed with the charges Friday states that the house had been ransacked and “multiple items were stolen.” Among the stolen property was the victim’s white 2004 extended cab Chevrolet pickup truck.

A search warrant executed on the victim’s phone revealed the last call on Burton’s cell phone was from York, who allegedly has an online escort service. York said during police interviews that she knew Burton and had accepted money from him in the past.

According to the affidavit, “on the night of the murder she followed him to the bank to get money, and was present at the time of Burton’s death.”

The affidavit said the investigation revealed Burton allegedly was moved by King following his death and his body doused with accelerant and set on fire “in an attempt to destroy any evidence of the crime.”

King, accompanied by York, used the victim’s credit cards at Riverwind Casino and the couple were caught on video, prosecutors allege. Police posted pictures of the couple and two other persons of interest on the Norman Police Facebook page, resulting in tips from the public. The two other persons of interest were interviewed and released, according to Norman Police Capt. Tom Easley.

King and York of Del City, were also caught on video surveillance from an Oklahoma City hotel which showed them in possession of the victim’s missing pickup at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 13, according to the affidavit.

On Feb. 15, Burton’s pickup was recovered at 4309 SE 55th St. in Oklahoma City.

“The vehicle had been partially stripped and was found to still contain property that was stolen from the victim’s residence,” according to the affidavit.

King and York also were taken into custody at SE 29th and Sunny Lane in Del City on Feb. 15.

Both had previous charges in Oklahoma County, and court records indicate King and York reside at the same address in Del City.

York was arrested in October in Oklahoma County and charged with assault to commit a felony, grand larceny. A second count of using a vehicle in a drive by shooting was dropped. Court records indicate York was released on a $40,000 bond.

King was arrested in Oklahoma County in June and charged with two felony counts, driving under the influence of alcohol (a municipal arrest) and driving while his license was revoked. Those charges were felony counts because of prior convictions, according to court records. King was out on a low bond of $3,000 but failed to make a court appearance on Feb. 7. As a result, Judge D. Doak issued a bench warrant for King’s arrest on Feb. 13.

County jail records indicate King and York are being held in the F. Dewayne Beggs Detention Center.

Both suspects are young, but even at the youthful age of 19, York is not the youngest female Mashburn has ever charged with murder.

“A few years ago we charged a 14 year old with the murder of her father,” Mashburn said.

Joy Hampton

366-3539

jhampton@

normantranscript.com

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