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Lamar County man found guilty of two counts of attempted murder

The retired Lamar County police officer who was on trial for plotting to pay someone to murder his wife and stepdaughter was found guilty yesterday.

Fifteenth Circuit Court District Attorney Hal Kittrell said in a press release that a Pearl River County jury found Averal Dan Burnett, Jr., 48, guilty of two counts of attempted murder. Judge Prentiss Harrell will sentence Burnett on Jan. 6, 2015 in Columbia, said Kittrell.

The release states that these crimes were committed in Pearl River County on July 13-15 earlier this year, and that Burnett will be facing not less than 20 years in prison for each count. Burnett also faces a rape charge, which will be tried in Lamar County where the incident allegedly occurred.

The charges Burnett was found guilty of yesterday originated after Burnett was arrested in Lamar County for the rape charge and held in the Pearl River County jail in July. A former inmate of the jail came forward after that time claiming that he had gained knowledge of a plot to have two people murdered in exchange for payment, said Chief Deputy Shane Tucker in a previous story.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation assisted Pearl River County law enforcement officials in their investigation, and it was discovered that Burnett had made a payment to have someone commit the murders, said Tucker in a previous story.

Kittrell said in the release that his office would be pushing for a maximum sentence.

“This case proves that no one is above the law,” Kittrell said in the release, “Justice dictates that Burnett receive as much time to serve in prison as possible for such heinous crimes.”