Man found guilty in southern Indiana quadruple murder case

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COLUMBUS, Ind. (Feb. 25, 2015) – A man facing charges in connection with a quadruple slaying in southern Indiana was found guilty on four counts of murder. Jurors announced the decision Wednesday afternoon after deliberating for two hours.

Samuel Sallee, 57, was accused of killing four people at a home in Waynesville, which is in Bartholomew County near Columbus. Police said the shooting, which happened in May 2013, involved a suspected meth deal.

Attorneys presented their closing arguments Wednesday morning. The case went to the jury around noon.

Fifty-three-year-old Katheryn Burton, her 39-year-old boyfriend, Thomas Smith, and two friends, Aaron Cross and Shawn Burton, both 41-year-old Columbus residents were fatally shot. Sallee denied any involvement in their deaths, and claimed he was an undercover drug informant.

“It’s been pure hell. It’s been a nightmare,” said Sue Bryant, cousins with Katheryn Burton.

As the jury deliberated, Bryant wrote a letter to Sallee, “Our family chain has been broken because of you. You are a coward,” the letter reads.

Steve Furkin, whose brother Shawn Burton was killed, carried the slain man’s ashes with him during the entire trial.

“He got to stand through his own murder trial,” said Furkin.

William Nash, Bartholomew County prosecutor, decided early on in the case not to pursue the death penalty.

“This is one of the worst crimes ever committed in this community.The odds of this man living long enough to be executed were very small,” said Nash.

“If you are capable of killing four people, I don’t think you can change overnight and not kill again,” said Furkin.

The jury recommended Sallee receive life without parole. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 2.

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