COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - A former Pine Belt lawman found guilty on two counts of attempted capital murder in December was sentenced to 60 years in prison Friday.
Averal "Junior" Burnett, 48, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 17 in a Pearl River County Court. His sentencing was scheduled to be held in Marion County before Judge Prentiss Harrell.
Harrell was given the sentencing portion of the trial, due to the fact the jury could not return a life sentence in deliberation.
Harrell sentenced Burnett to 30 years for count 1, and 30 years for count 2, both to run consecutive.
In less than an hour a Pearl River County jury convicted Burnett of two counts of attempted capital murder.
The two counts occurred while Burnett was housed in a Pearl River County Jail where he was being housed for multiple sexual battery charges out of Lamar County.
Burnett designed and committed an act, that if accomplished, would constitute an offense of capital murder in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his "soon to be ex-wife" Natasha Burnett, and her daughter.
Burnett, while in jail, offered fellow inmate Russell Still a thing of value, bonded him out of jail, and gave money to commit the murders.
"We are certainly pleased with the sentence of 60 years," said 15th Circuit District Attorney Hal Kittrell.
"Now we will move forward with the sexual battery charges out of Lamar County," said Kittrell.