Man found guilty in death of Merryville man in Vernon Parish

Randall Paul Burton – GuiltyAmerican Press composite

A DeRidder man was found guilty Thursday of the shooting death of a Merryville man in Vernon Parish last year.

Randall Paul Burton, 46 of the Knight community, was convicted of second-degree murder in 30th Judicial District Court in the death of 35 year-old Cody Fletcher on Feb. 1, 2017. The verdict was handed down just four days after the trial began on Monday before Judge C. Anthony Eaves.

Burton was also convicted of the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Burton was arrested by Vernon Parish authorities on Feb. 1 after he placed a 911 call that morning to the Vernon Parish call center saying he had shot a man at a residence on Joshlin Pit Road. Sheriff Sam Craft said that when authorities responded to the scene, they found Fletcher deceased in the yard of the residence.

Eaves scheduled the sentencing to take place April 27.

According to District Attorney Asa Skinner, a conviction of second-degree murder carries with it a mandatory sentence of life in prison without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. He said the possession charge carries a penalty of not less than 10 or more than 20 years in prison and could include a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.

Burton has a history with law enforcement in Beauregard Parish, where he was most recently arrested in 2015 for aggravated battery in connection with a shooting that injured another man.

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