Houston News & Search
An 18-year-old accused of luring a 56-year-old man to a home for sex where he was fatally stabbed and his body burned in a east Houston dumpster was being manipulated by an abusive boyfriend, her lawyer said Monday.
Courtney Burks and boyfriend Shaquan Bennett appeared in orange jail uniforms before state District Judge Randy Roll Monday on charges of capital murder, accused of robbing then killing David Standley on March 17.
“It’s hard to call it a dating relationship,” said attorney Windi Pastorini, who represents the young woman. “She was more like a hostage or victim. She was scared to death of him. I think she was a desperate woman who needed someone who could provide for her.”
POLICE SHOOTING: Deputy fires on man who allegedly tried to run him over
Pastorini said her client may have suffered battered woman syndrome. She also raised the possibility that Bennett was a pimp for Burks.
It’s a story that prosecutors said they will likely challenge, since blaming a co-defendant is a common defense strategy.
“I certainly think that will be a point of contention between the two defendants,” said prosecutor Kathy Kahle. She said both teens gave statements to police, but she had not seen them before the hearing.
Police said that during the apparent robbery, the teens allegedly stabbed Standley with a knife and bludgeoned him with a blunt object.
PEDESTRIAN KILLED: Woman found dead in north Harris County
Standley’s body was found around 5:45 a.m. on March 17, in a burning dumpster in the 4600 block of Market Street. The dumpster is in the same block as Bennett’s home, court records show.
Standley was found with a welt over his right eye and a large bump on his forehead. His body was covered with a blanket and buried under a pile of trash.
James Stafford, the lawyer representing Bennett said he is still investigating the allegations.
“I don’t know what their respective roles are,” Stafford said after the brief hearing. “They’re very remorseful, very sad and very frightened. Neither one of them have any criminal history, so this is the first time they’ve been processed in and it’s a very intimidating event for them.”
If convicted of capital murder, both teens could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek death. That decision is typically made months after an arrest.
Both are being held in the Harris County jail without bail.
Houston News & Search