Missing Pieces: Murder conviction overturned

Murray Burr, a long-time janitor for the local school district, was stabbed 28 times in 2004.

In a town with only a flashing red light, a murder tore two families apart.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster," said Megan Winfrey Holt, now acquitted.

It was 2004 in Coldspring, Texas. The crime happened in a trailer home just north of town in San Jacinto County. The victim was Murray Burr, a long-time janitor for the local school district. Investigators say he was stabbed 28 times.

"Everybody always loved him because he was so sweet," Megan said.

But quickly this brother and sister, Richie and Megan Winfrey, found themselves accused of his murder. Along with their father, Richard Senior, who had recently been released from prison.

"They questioned us immediately, since it wasn't very far from the house, since it's maybe like two miles from our house, maybe like five... it's on the same county road. Still, they were asking everybody," Richie said.

Investigators zeroed in on the Winfreys because they were students at the school where Burr worked, the families knew each other, and the dad had a long criminal history. But no witness and no evidence could ever directly tie them to the crime scene.

Then, investigators brought in bloodhounds, they picked the Winfreys' scent out of a lineup. It was enough to convince a jury. They found Megan and her dad guilty and sent them to prison. However, Richie's trial changed everything.

"It was the longest moment of my life when they came in their back from the verdict," Richie said.

The jury found him not guilty and set off a chain reaction. Years later, an appeals court overturned Megan and her dad's convictions. The ruling said the dog sniffing evidence isn't reliable and "...it is insufficient to establish a person's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

"I've got some questions about it. I believe this case is worth another look," said Joe Schultea, Chief Deputy at the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office.

However, little work has been done on the case since the convictions were overturned.

"This is a solvable case with the amount of evidence collected, and I think the family deserves to know what the actual outcome is supposed to be," Schultea said.

The key to finding the killer could be in the crime lab report. It shows the DNA at the crime scene didn't match the Winfreys and could belong to someone else.

"They got their killers. That's what I think they not looking anymore. They're not going to hear what anyone else says and that case is solved for a lot of people, I'm sure," Richie said.

Megan is now reunited with her family. Her daughter had just turned a year old when she was arrested.

"The first couple months I was in there, I had this t-shirt I would stuff full of clothes and just cuddle with it," Megan said.

Happy to be home, Megan still struggles to find a job. She was acquitted, but not declared innocent. Both siblings moved away from the small town that still buzzes about the murder.

"There's still somebody out there, and all I can say is...hope one day somebody will solve this case and then they'll see that it was not us," Megan said.

We reached out to Murray Burr's family, but did not hear back. If you have any information on the case, call Crime Stoppers or San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office.

In a separate San Jacinto County cold case, there's been a big break. Debra Ann Huffman of Houston was murdered in 1982. Friday deputies arrested Robert Earl Nard, 73, for the crime that happened up in San Jacinto County.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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