Woman found guilty of murdering great-aunt
SAN DIEGO — A woman who shot her 74-year-old great-aunt in the victim’s Tierrasanta home more than three years ago was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder.
After a day of deliberations, a jury found 26-year-old Tiffany Nicole Burney guilty in the Dec. 14, 2011, killing of Daisy Mae Hayes. Jurors will reconvene Tuesday to determine if Burney was sane when she shot the victim four times in the face.
The defendant faces 50 years to life in prison if she’s found sane.
In his closing argument, Deputy Public Defender Kevin Haughton said his client was delusional and in a psychotic state when she shot Hayes, who was like a second grandmother to her.
Haughton said Burney — who was diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia — started hearing voices at age 11 and was first hospitalized for her mental illness when she was 13.
But Deputy District Attorney Marisa Di Tillio said Burney was angry that she didn’t measure up to the rest of the family and decided to take it out on Hayes, who was considered the “heart” of the family.
Burney showed up at the victim’s door sometime after 3 a.m. and asked to use the bathroom, Di Tillio said. As Hayes waited on a couch, Burney emerged from the bathroom with a gun drawn and shot her four times, the prosecutor said.
“She (Burney) intended to kill,” Di Tillio told the jury.
Di Tillio said Burney fled the scene and called police a few days later after checking into a hospital.
Burney confessed to the killing and told police she was angry because “everyone was winning and I was losing,” Di Tillio told the jury.