Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Teen Sentenced in Murder-for-Hire Plot

Michael Richardson. Police photo.

Oklahoma man Michael Richardson, 19, was sentenced to 28 years in prison yesterday after pleading guilty to killing 53-year-old Arthur Burney on February 18, 2011.  Burney was the father of Richardson’s then-girlfriend, Michelle Burney, who was 14 at the time.  According to Richardson’s testimony in court last year, he was offered $6,000 by his girlfriend’s mother, Patricia Burney, to kill her husband with a .22 caliber rifle she had hidden in the house.  On the day of the murder, Richardson reportedly said Patricia and Michelle picked him up in a rental car, then took him to their Coweta property where he took “practice shots” with the rifle. He then hid out in the family’s barn until Burney came in, and shot him.  Richarson, who never got to collect his money, and his girlfriend were both arrested on March 3 of last year.  Patricia Burney was arrested a week later.

Patricia Burney was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted in March of first-degree murder.  She is in the process of an appeal.  Michelle Burney was first charged as an adult, but had her case moved to juvenile court. Shepleaded guilty to murder and remains in the juvenile justice system.  She testified during her mother’s trial, saying that her dad was “always mean to [her] mom” and that Patricia ”wanted him dead.”

Slideshow: When Children Kill

Slideshow: Murder for Hire

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