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Houston pastor’s son pleads guilty in stepmother’s shooting death

Houston pastor’s son pleads guilty in stepmother’s shooting death

by Nakia Cooper /

Posted on October 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 19 at 3:45 PM

HOUSTON—The 21-year-old son of a Houston pastor, who was entangled in a bizarre love triangle with his father and a woman the two shared, pleaded guilty to killing his stepmother Wednesday.

William Fuller said he shot and killed his stepmother, Pauletta Burleson, at his father’s request on May 18, 2010.

Fuller said his dad, Tracy Burleson, asked him to kill Mrs. Burleson in order to profit from her life insurance. Burleson was the pastor of the First New Mount Calvary Baptist Church at the time of the murder.

Fuller snuck up behind his stepmother and fatally shot her outside her northeast Harris County home that night. He then called his girlfriend Tyonne Palmer to help him get rid of the evidence.

Palmer picked up Fuller, drove him to get cleaned up, then assisted him in burning the gun. She was charged for her participation in the crime.

Palmer was not only involved with Fuller, but was also having an affair with his father.

Burleson admitted he and Palmer were lovers, but claimed he had nothing to do with his wife’s death. Investigators quickly discovered that was a lie.

Burleson told police he had left his home following an argument with his wife and drove to a neighborhood store to buy potato chips and candy.  He said he found his wife lying dead outside after returning home.

Investigators said a couple of things just didn’t add up. The store Burleson said he went to closed at 10 p.m., which was before the time the pastor said he left, and he did not have any of the snacks with him when he returned. Burleson said he ate them on the way home.

Further investigation led police to Fuller, who cracked during questioning and confessed.

Fuller will be sentenced on November 8. He faces up to 99 years in prison.

Palmer was found guilty of murder and tampering with evidence on October 13. She was sentenced to serve seven years for the murder and 10 years probation for tampering with evidence.

Burleson was convicted of capital murder on September 29 and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.