Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Man gets death in buried-alive slayings

Defense attorney Richard Kuritz (left) talks to his client Michael James Jackson as the jury was deliberating Monday.

2 hours, 15 minutes ago

A man was sentenced to death Wednesday in the kidnapping and slayings of a couple who were buried alive in rural Georgia after their bank account was cleaned out.

Michael James Jackson, 25, was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping but said he only planned the robbery and did not participate in the slayings of James and Carol Sumner in 2005.

Jackson told authorities he saw the couple being buried alive and heard Carol Sumner moaning inside the pre-dug grave in a remote area of Charlton County, Ga., near the Florida line. He said he did not try to stop the slayings because he was afraid he would be next.

The Sumners, both 61, were abducted, loaded into their car's trunk and forced to reveal financial information. Prosecutors said Jackson used the Sumners' bank card and PIN number to withdraw money from their account and still had their financial records when he was arrested at a South Carolina hotel.

Jackson's lawyer, Richard Kuritz, said he planned to appeal.

Three others were also charged in the case. One of them, Bruce Kent Nixon, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping after leading police to the bodies. He agreed to testify against Jackson and two others.

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