Burnett denied bail

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 13, 2001

The two suspects arrested Tuesday on robbery and kidnapping charges were in the Butler County District Court Wednesday afternoon for their initial appearances. Before the session was through, one suspect was ordered to be held without bond, and the other was ordered to remain in custody until he could make a $270,000 bond.

William Lamar Burnett, 26 and Willie Scarver, 20, appeared before Butler County District Judge Barry Branum, wearing leg-chains and handcuffs. Burnett was dressed in the clothes he had been arrested in the day before, and Scarver was clad in an orange prisoner uniform.

Judge Branum first verified the suspects' names and current addresses, and then informed them of their charges.

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"Mr. Burnett and Mr. Scarver, you are both presently charged with seven counts of robbery in the first degree, and two counts of kidnapping in the first degree," Judge Branum said. "These offenses are both class A felonies, which carry with them sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment, for each count.

"In addition, Mr. Burnett, you are also charged as a person forbidden to carry a firearm, which is a class C felony. This carries an additional maximum of 10 years imprisonment."

The judge then explained what the charges were, and informed the suspects of their Miranda rights, including their right to be represented by an attorney.

"You have the right to obtain your own attorney, and you also have the right for an attorney to be appointed for you by the court, if you cannot afford to obtain one yourself," the judge said. "In view of the offenses you are both charged with, I am going to appoint an attorney for you, and I advise you to seek the counsel of his services as soon as possible."

Judge Branum then appointed Brandon Sellers, attorney-at-law as the public defender for the pair.

"If Mr. Sellers feels that it would pose a conflict-of-interest to represent both of you, then I will appoint a second attorney," he said.

The judge then spoke to each man individually, with regard to bond.

"Each count of a class Afelony carries a $30,000 bond. Therefore, Mr. Scarver, it is the order of this court that you make and maintain a $270,000 property bond before you can be released from jail.

"Also, if you should be able to post bond, it is the order of this court that you remain at your residence at 804 Roosevelt Street, until such time as this case is resolved," he said.

The District Judge then addressed Burnett.

"Mr. Burnett, the Greenville Police Department has petitioned that court disallow bond for you based on your prior conviction to at least three felony offenses, therefore it is the order of this court that you be held without bond."

Assistant District Attorney Steve Townes then made a request to the court.

"Your honor, the State would request that if, at a later time, either defendant should be released on bond, that the District Attorney's office be notified at least 24 hours in advance of their release."

Judge Branum then informed him that the Sheriff would see to it that they were notified.

After setting their next court appearance date, Judge Branum then sent the defendants back to jail.

Scarver was taken back to the Butler County Jail, and Burnett was transported back to the Lowndes County Jail, where he is being held in maximum security.