Antonio Glover- Guilty

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jury reaches murder verdict

By Billy Davis    

A circuit court jury seated in Sardis this week found Como resident Antonio Cortez Glover guilty of killing Tommy “Burnside”  Walton in 2011 over a duffel bag of missing marijuana.  

Jurors deliberated the murder charge and six other felony counts — most of them conspiracy charges — through half the day Thursday, returning to announce the verdicts at mid-afternoon.

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The jury returned with four guilty verdicts against Glover: murder; conspiracy to commit kidnapping; burning down his home (first degree arson) to hide the crime, and conspiring to burn down the home.

Glover was found not guilty of burglarizing Walton’s home, conspiracy to commit the burglary, and conspiring to burn Walton’s automobile to cover up his death.

An original indictment for  kidnapping prior to trial was removed because of the capital murder charge that included that charge, District Attorney John Champion explained after the trial.

Champion announced earlier this year he would seek the death penalty for Glover, an alleged drug dealer who was represented at trial by attorney John Perry of DeSoto County.

A guilty verdict for capital murder would have triggered a second deliberation over the death penalty, but jurors returned to their box with a lesser charge of murder.

Champion released few pre-trial details about the homicide, which would have shed light on his decision to seek the controversial death penalty. But the allegations poured out of the courtroom this week in front of jurors, including testimony that Glover oversaw Walton’s kidnapping, he was present at his murder, and he tried to cover up both crimes.   

Over a day and half, Champion and Assistant District Attorney Jay Hale presented the state’s version to a sequestered jury: Glover believed Walton stole the marijuana, and he along with cousins Odell McBrayer and Larry McBrayer, tried to force a confession, first inside Glover’s automobile then later at his home.

When the confrontation at Glover’s home led to Walton’s death from gunshots, prosecutors said, then Glover oversaw an effort to hide the crime. That included hiding Walton’s body and his car east of Como, setting fire to the home, and dumping the two murder weapons and Glover’s bloody clothes along Highway 310.

The cousins admitted on the witness stand they later returned to the hidden car and Walton’s body to burn them both, further attempting to hide the crime.

Like Glover, Odell McBrayer and Larry McBrayer are also facing multiple charges for Walton’s death, and at least four other defendants are facing arson charges for allegedly setting fire to Glover’s rented home at 217 Ford Street in Como.

The cousins and other defendants are cooperating with authorities, and they took turns testifying Tuesday and Wednesday as witnesses for prosecutors, with all fingers pointed at Glover.

Odell McBrayer testified that Glover was tipped off that Walton had stolen the marijuana, and was trying to sell it, and he claimed to jurors that he was following Glover’s instructions that eventually led to the kidnapping, and caused the murder and attempted cover-up.

Odell McBrayer also said from the witness stand he was afraid for his safety because he had been at Glover’s home alone when the drugs went missing.

“Where’d they go?” Hale asked.

“I don’t know,” McBrayer replied.

The cousins searched Walton’s car and the attic of his home next door to look for the drugs according to their testimony.

According to Odell McBrayer, he had been instructed to remove the marijuana and two firearms from Glover’s house as a precaution after Glover was jailed for a traffic offense. He hid the bag of marijuana behind the home, he said.

After the narcotics went missing, Odell McBrayer tried to avoid Glover for several days “because I thought something was gonna happen to me,” he told Hale.

The approximate value of the marijuana was $42,000, Panola sheriff’s investigator Bill McGee told The Panolian during the trial.

Days after the marijuana went missing, McBrayer testified he was in Southaven when Glover called him. Glover informed him that Walton took the bag of marijuana, and he wanted Odell and his cousin to go with him to pick up Walton.  

But McBrayer also admitted on the witness stand that he fired a shot, from a .357 revolver, that struck Walton in the back in Glover’s home.

Perry, the attorney for Glover, reminded jurors Thursday morning that the autopsy of Walton showed the gunshot to his back was the fatal shot that killed him.

Courtroom testimony revealed that Walton was shot three times, once in the back and twice in his legs, including a second shot from McBrayer that went through both legs.

Perry disputed Champion’s essential claim that Glover fired one of the two shots into Walton’s leg.

Instead, the defense attorney suggested to jurors that Larry McBrayer may have fired the single shot from the .45 pistol, the second murder weapon that was recovered from Highway 310.

It didn’t help prosecutors when a lab technician testified that she was requested to test the .45 pistol for DNA that matched Walton, Glover and Odell McBrayer — but not Larry McBrayer.

“Larry’s DNA is probably on that gun,” Perry told jurors in his closing argument.

During closing arguments, Perry and Champion took turns reading from jury instructions to wrangle over legal definitions of terms such as conspiracy, kidnapping and accomplice.

“Tommy was a living, breathing human being who had every right to be on this earth,” Champion told jurors at one point. “And that life was taken away from him over 35 pounds of marijuana.”

Perry, meanwhile, told jurors that proof of a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt” — a legal term referring to guilt or innocence — is a cornerstone of the justice system in the United States.

After the trial, Champion credited corroborating evidence — eight in all — that bolstered the accounts of the McBrayers in front of jurors.

“That made them reliable,” he said.

He mentioned the .357 pistol with only two rounds fired from the chamber, indicating the cousins were truthful about firing only two shots.

The district attorney also credited investigating from the Panola County sheriff’s Department.

“They did a fantastic job,” he said.

Champion also said Glover was well known as a local source for narcotics in Como, and his conviction “not only gets a killer off the streets but a drug dealer, too.”