The Norman Transcript

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May 30, 2014

York facing life: Victim’s family says impact is beyond measure

NORMAN — Barely out of her teens, convicted murderer Mary Courtney York looked young and frightened on the day of her sentencing.

York entered a blind guilty plea in the murder case of Norman man Patrick Burton, 51. She was 19 at the time of the crime.

York cried throughout the proceedings Thursday and sobbed out loud during victim impact statements by Burton’s mother and sister.

“Ms. Burton, I’m so sorry that this happened,” York told Burton’s elderly mother. “It was never intended for anyone to die.”

York entered a guilty plea May 15 for first-degree murder and arson in concert with Christopher King for Burton’s death. Following the murder, the pair set Burton’s body and the family home on fire to conceal the crime.

The family dog, Jacob, had been badly beaten, and the family said the pet died of smoke inhalation, also as a result of the crime. Many items, including a treasured coin collection left to Burton by a World War II veteran and close family friend, were stolen. Burton’s white pickup also was stolen and stripped at a chop shop before it was found.

Burton was murdered on Feb. 13, 2013. His mother, Tina Burton, was in Tennessee visiting her daughter at the time.

York was sentenced by Chief District Judge Lori Walkley according to a recommendation by the state. She received a life sentence for the murder charge, with the last 22 years suspended. That means she will serve 85 percent of 23 years, but the judge gave her credit for the year she has already served preceding and during the trial.

Assistant District Attorney Lori Puckett handled the case for the prosecution.

York also received a 35-year sentence for one count of arson, with all but the last two years suspended. The sentences will be served concurrently.

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