Local News

Sheriff: Revenge likely motive for fatal home invasion

Posted October 2, 2009 11:43 a.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2009 5:05 p.m. EDT

— A New Jersey man who was shot and killed during a home invasion in Halifax Friday morning was likely seeking revenge for a two decade-old domestic dispute, according to Halifax County Sheriff Jeff Frazier.

The investigation is ongoing into details of the 1988 dispute between Marcel Alston, of Halifax, and Carlton L. Burgess, 61, of Lumberton, N.J. Frazier said.

"It's baffling right now. We've got a lot of loose ends that we've got to try to tie up," said Lt. Bobby Martin, with the Halifax County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said that a knock woke up Alston around 7 a.m. at his house at 5524 U.S. Highway 301, where he lives alone. When Alston opened the door, Burgess, who had a gun, began assaulting Alston.

Alston got away and was climbing up the stairs when Burgess fired, striking his victim in the buttocks, investigators said. Alston managed to get to his bedroom and got out a gun he kept there.

Burgess followed Alston into the bedroom, and Alston fatally shot him in the upper torso, according to investigators.

According to a 911 call, Alston went to a neighbor's for help after the shootings.

In addition to a gunshot wound, Alston suffered a gash on the head. He was undergoing surgery at Halifax Regional Hospital Friday afternoon. His condition was stable, Frazier said.

Alston acknowledged his acquaintance with Burgess and said they hadn't seen each other in several years.

Deputies were examining a white van with New Jersey license plate parked in front of Alston's house that Burgess might have driven. Investigators were also searching a room at the Days Inn in Weldon where Burgess had checked in Wednesday.

Frazier said the killing appeared to be a case of self-defense. The Halifax County District Attorney's Office has to decide whether charges will be filed.

Neighbors said they were stunned this happened to Alston, who has been their friend for years.

"It shocked me," neighbor Leroy Lynch said. "I'm really sad. He's a real nice man."