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Ex-pastor on trial, accused of plotting with his son to murder his wife

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
William Fuller testifies
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Jurors got an earful in the bizarre case Tuesday afternoon during a dramatic day of testimony in the case of a former pastor accused of convincing his son to help kill his wife.

Prosecutors say Tracy Burleson hired his son, William Fuller, to pull the trigger and in the middle of all of this, jurors will hear about a woman who was dating both father and son.

William Fuller testified Tuesday in his father's capital murder trial and painted his stepmother, Pauletta Burleson, as a monster. He says his father hated her just as much as he did and claims his father spent years trying to convince him to kill her.

Fuller did not mince words as he described life with his father, Pastor Tracy Burleson, and his 56-year-old stepmother, Pauletta Burleson.

    Prosecutor: "Would you call it a happy home?"
    Fuller: "No. "
    Prosecutor: "How would you describe it?"
    Fuller: "Hell."
    Prosecutor: "Was there abuse?"
    Fuller: "Yes."
    Prsoecutor: "Physical?"
    Fuller: "Yes."
    Prosecutor: "Verbal?"
    Fuller: "Yes."
    Prosecutor: "How long was it like that?"
    Fuller: "Up until Pauletta was killed."
    Prosecutor: "Is it fair to say you didn't like Pauletta?"
    Fuller: "I still hate her."

Fuller is accused of shooting his stepmother execution-style in the back of the head in May of last year. He testified his father promised him life insurance money and a place to live in exchange for killing her.

William's mother Sharon Fuller said, "I'm standing by my son without fear of contradiction. I don't approve and I don't condone what happened, but he is still my child and he was manipulated."

William Fuller claims his father asked him numerous times to kill his wife, even before he started his affair with Tyonne Palmer. Fuller began dating his father's girlfriend after his stepmother's murder.

Fuller explained to the jury that even though Tracy Burleson was miserable, he didn't want to lose his church and refused to walk away from his marriage empty-handed.

    Prosecutor: "How would you describe your dad and Paulette's relationship?"
    Fuller: "Shredded. Like a broken mirror. I used to have to break them up from stabbing each other all the time. I was stabbed."
    Prosecutor: "Who was the aggressor?"
    Fuller: "She was."

Pauletta's sister Joyce Bingham believes Fuller was simply the pawn in her sister's murder.

"What would really give me resolution is to see Tracy put away for life," she said.

Tyonne Palmer is also charged with capital murder. She's accused of helping Fuller destroy the murder weapon.

If convicted, Burleson could get life in prison without parole.

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