Jury finds son guilty in brutal murder of mother

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Joseph Robert Burks listens as a jury delivers its verdict in his murder trial.

SAN DIEGO – A jury found a 31-year-old man guilty of murder for fatally stabbing his mother at the home they shared in Clairemont.

Jurors deliberated 4½ days before finding Joseph Robert Burks guilty of murdering 58-year-old Angela Burks, a teacher at Otay Ranch High School for 14 years. She had been with the Sweetwater Union High School District since 1983.

Burks called emergency dispatchers on July 24, 2017 and told them that he had stabbed his mother and she needed medical attention. When officers arrived, they found 58-year-old Angela Burks on her back and unresponsive inside the home in the 4300 block of Mount Putnam Avenue, according to testimony at the trail. She had lost a lot of blood and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Prosecutors said the woman had been stabbed 15 times, including 10 cuts wounds to her throat and one that severed her jugular vein. The motive for the murder was not clear.

San Diego police homicide Detective Christopher Leahy testified that the victim lived on one side of the home and the defendant on the other.

The mother’s side of the home was well maintained and the defendant’s side was messy, with items stacked on top of his bed and an assortment of weapons — including two Samurai swords — lined up against a wall, according to the detective.

There was a mattress in a bathroom and the defendant seemed to be sleeping in there, Leahy said.

Burks faces 26 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on July 13.

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