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Widow: False belief in affair led to fatal home invasion

Posted October 5, 2009

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— The widow of a New Jersey man killed during a home invasion in Halifax last Friday said her husband was motivated by mistaken belief that she and the homeowner had an affair 21 years ago.

Halifax County investigators believe that Carlton L. Burgess, 61, of Lumberton, N.J., drove to North Carolina, then on Friday morning knocked on Marcel Alston's door.

In the ensuing struggle, Carlton Burgess shot Alston and cut his head, but Alston got a hold of his gun and fatally shot Burgess, investigators said.

Carolyn Burgess said that her husband had post-traumatic stress syndrome from military service in Vietnam and Desert Storm. In the past three months, his behavior had become erratic, and he started drinking

"It was like a totally different person. It was like a man I never knew, to the point that he was almost violent," she said.

Carlton Burgess became consumed by a grudge he had held against Alston for more than two decades, she said. Carolyn Burgess said that while the couple was having marital difficulties in 1988, she became friends with Alston, who was a fellow student. Carlton Burgess falsely assumed that the friendship had turned into an affair, she said.

"That's all he thought about – that it was an affair. So for three months, that's all he dwelled on," she said.

Then, last week, he left their New Jersey home, and on Friday, Carolyn Burgess learned that she had become a widow. Her old friend, Alston, was undergoing surgery but was expected to recover.

"I'm hurting, because this didn't have to happen," she said.

Carolyn Burgess said she feels sorry Alston and his family and hopes they can forgive. She hopes her husband found time to ask for the same.

"I pray that God gave him enough breath to ask for forgiveness," she said.

26 Comments

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  • 1carpe Oct 5, 2009

    Sure wish I could remember the name of the small town somewhere in this country which REQUIRES the open wearing of weapons. Their crime rate is just about 0. It is real simple for me. I am close to being a "seasoned citizen" and wise enough to try to physically subdue a young man breaking into my home. I will let Smith & Wesson do the subduing for me...and while I hate to admit it, my wife is a better shot than I am, and I do pretty good.

  • wiseowl Oct 5, 2009

    i'm as liberal on a lot of things as they come, but this story is proof positive that if they outlaw guns the only ones that will have guns will be the outlaws.

    if the homeowner didn't have his weapon, he's dead, plain and simple. i feel for the deceased as well, but he clearly should have been under a bit more medical and governmental supervision. if he had diagnosed and acute PTSD he should not have had access to a firearm.

  • panthers254 Oct 5, 2009

    Gun laws only work..... if people follow them.

    Gun laws matter not to the criminal. they dont plan on abiding by them anyway.

    New York has tons of gun laws..... hows that working out.

    When someone comes busting in your house, what are you going to do call the cops. hmmm they will get there just in time to ID your dead body.

  • Iworkforaliving Oct 5, 2009

    sounds like a very clever murder plot.

  • whocares Oct 5, 2009

    If he was acting that erratically for 3 months, don't you think she should have called someone about it, particularly with the drinking and "almost" becming violent. She said he turned into another person. Sounds like there was more going on than PTSD.

  • Space Mountain Oct 5, 2009

    She sounded more relieved than sad to me.

  • jaw8823 Oct 5, 2009

    I have read if these two men even knew each other. If and I mean IF there was an affair it was so long ago. Notice she never said they didn't have an affair or didn't. So one will be left to assume.

  • ghimmy51 Oct 5, 2009

    "Enter at your own risk: Beware of shotgun" would only advertise the premises contains guns easy to sell quickly. People who break into a home or business obviously think they can do it and get away safely, if they think at all. Real home security is a dog, an alarm, and a responsible citizen with weapons training and the judgment to use it if all else fails.

  • genie2u Oct 5, 2009

    Haggis - What good would guncontrol laws do in a situation like this? Someone came into his home with a weapon and shot him? Why would a home owner not have a right to shoot back?

    This isn't the best example - But EVERY week there is a story on the news of a homeowner who wakes up to a sorry thief coming into their home trying to steal money, items, whatever and the homeowner has a gun, shoots (not usually fataly) and stops it.

    If these stories got more attention and more homeowners had guns, these crack heads may think twice.

    I think instead of signs outside of your home that state "ADT secured" or beware of dog they should have them that say "Enter uninvited at your own risk, beware of shot gun"

  • ghimmy51 Oct 5, 2009

    Gulfwarvet I have my fair share of PTSD myself, but that isn't what this story is about. This story is about allegations of an affair and a local crime ... with emphasis on the bereaved widow ... complete with closeup. It was chosen because of these factors and the potential for speculation about the affair. If there were JOURNALISTS employed by WRAL maybe we could get a authoritative coverage of the stress problems of returning vets. Unfortunately we will not.

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