Murder trial to begin

Bay St. Louis

Jury selection is expected to begin this morning in the murder trial of Michael Hudson Burks, a former bail-bondsman, who is accused of killing the husband of one of his former clients in July 2007.

Burks, 65, was charged with murder in 2007 after he allegedly killed Gary Clifford Joiner with a shotgun blast in an empty field across from Burks’ FEMA trailer on North Nassau Street.

Burks had bonded out Joiner’s wife Connie Joiner just prior to Hurricane Katrina and friends said Burks continued to befriend Connie Joiner after the storm. She was at Burks’ home on the night of the shooting, authorities said.

Burks told police that when he arrived home on the evening of July 20, 2007, he noticed Gary Joiner in his home taking several items.

An altercation apparently ended in an empty field across the street, when Burks shot Joiner dead with a shotgun, police said.

Burks was arrested and charged with murder, but was given only a $20,000 bond and was quickly released from custody.

Since the arrest, Burks has been scheduled to appear in court numerous times, but the case has been delayed on at least three occasions.

One of the delays came when Burks failed to appear at an arraignment last year.

Burks was rearrested, but allowed to post bond again.
He now lives in Pearl River County.

Attorney Albert Necaise will represent Burks and the trial is expected to begin today, Assistant District Attorney Chris Fisher said last week.

The Burks case was the first murder in Hancock County after Hurricane Katrina and it will also be the first murder tried at the newly-renovated Hancock County courthouse.

If convicted, Burks could be sentenced to life in prison.

He has also been charged with embezzlement for allegedly stealing from the bail bond company for which he used to work.

Those charges are still pending, officials said.

BY: Dwayne Bremer

The Sea Coast Echo

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