Investigation Discovery’s ‘Scorned: Fatal Fury: Preaching to the Cheater’ chronicles the murder of 56-year-old Paulette Ross Burleson in Houston, Texas, in May 2010. The investigators reached a dead end until one of the perpetrators confessed to a close friend about being involved in the murder. If you’re intrigued to know about the identity as well as the current whereabouts of the perpetrators, we’ve you covered. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Paulette Burleson Die?
Paulette Ross Burleson was born on June 5, 1963, in Bullhead Bluff, Camden County, Georgia. She married Tracy Bernard Burleson, the pastor of First New Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Fifth Ward Historic Houston Community in Houston, Texas. Tracy had a son named William Darnell Fuller from a previous relationship with a woman called Sharon Fuller. William was a sickly child who had sickle cell anemia and was regularly abused by Paulette.
On May 18, 2010, Tracy called 911 in the evening, crying, “Somebody shot my wife! Somebody shot my wife!” The first responders at the scene arrived to find Tracy laying down on the body and weeping, “Get up Pauletta, get up, Pauletta.” The officers had to restrain him in the patrol car to continue their investigation and processing of the crime scene. The 56-year-old’s body was lying in the driveway with her head in a pool of blood. They found a .38 caliber shell casing lying beside the body and the autopsy report said she had been shot execution-style.
Who Killed Paulette Burleson?
When the police questioned Tracy, he claimed that he had gone to a nearby convenience store to purchase a drink and a candy bar that he had in the car on the way home. He was shocked to find the body of his wife in the driveway and called the police. However, the police found the concerned store to be closed as per the time frame mentioned by Tracy. They also found rumors in Tracy’s congregation regarding his infidelity and urging parishioners to donate more heavily, which had enraged many. Allegedly, one resentful parishioner had even set fire to one of the church buildings.
As investigators dug more into the Burleson family background, they became more and more suspicious. They found that Paulette had abused William so much that he had filed a complaint against her which went to trial but she eventually escaped jail time. According to a local reporter, “She struck a deal to go to some classes and be on probation and clean up her act.” In 2009, William moved out of his parents’ home and shifted in with his best friend, Tyonne Palmer-Pollard, who was a nurse practitioner and took care of him.
Tracy and Tyonne met in the fall of 2009 and immediately fell in love though the former was still married to Paulette and the latter was separated from her husband but not divorced. They soon began a physical relationship and were allegedly engaged. But the investigators could find no evidence that tied either of them to the murder and the case started to get cold.
However, they soon caught a lucky break when William allegedly confessed to a family friend named Perette Rhodes that he had murdered his stepmother with his father offering him a portion of the insurance money. Though Tyonne was allegedly engaged to Tracy, she started having a physical relationship with William a couple of days after the murder. When Tracy moved in a week later, the father and son had a huge argument that led to Tracy kicking him out of the house.
This led to a disgruntled William confessing to Perette about the crime and he was arrested soon thereafter. During the interrogation, William confessed to the police too that he had pulled the trigger, though emphasizing that was not a hired gun but wanted to end the abuse meted out to him by Paulette and the offer of the portion of the insurance money by Tracy. He even led the investigators to the murder weapon and agreed to testify against Tracy and Tyonne in court.
Where Are Tracy Burleson, William Fuller, and Tyonne Palmer Today?
When police arrested Tracy and Tyonne, he confessed to having an affair but denied any involvement in the murder. But his call records showed that he was with William at his residence at the time of the murder. William further testified in court that Tracy had offered him $3,000 to commit the murder. Tyonne also professed her innocence, claiming she knew nothing about the crime, but William testified it was she who had driven him after the murder to a cousin’s house so that he could clean his bloody clothes. All 3 of them were charged with capital murder, with the State not seeking the death penalty.
In September 2011, Tracy went on trial and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Tyonne went on trial around 5 days later and was sentenced to seven years in prison and 10 years of probation. Due to his confession as well as testifying in Tracy and Tyonne’s trials, William was offered a plea deal in exchange for a 20-year sentence.
The 57-year-old Tracy is currently serving his sentence at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit, while William is presently incarcerated in a prison cell at the Jim Ferguson Unit in Madison County, Texas. As per the latter’s inmate record, the 32-year-old’s projected release date is on June 7, 2030. Tyonne has served her prison term and is currently out on probation and remains under community supervision.