Local News

Widow: False belief in affair led to fatal home invasion

Posted October 5, 2009 6:37 a.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2009 7:36 a.m. EDT

— 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.