• Police release sketch, raise reward in Griffin murder case

    By: Tony Thomas


    GRIFFIN, Ga. - Police in Griffin are hoping a sketch of a wanted murderer and a growing reward will lead to clues in a homicide that has rattled even some veteran detectives.

    Harry Burkett, 63, was gunned down in his fiancé's house on Crescent Lane April 6.

    Investigators said the gunmen used a flower pot from the back yard to break through a glass door and then almost immediately opened fire on the visiting Burkett.

    The woman, who has not been identified, said the man then pointed the gun at her but it jammed.

    "She is very lucky to still be here," said Detective Sgt. John Hayes of the Griffin Police Department.

    Despite police arriving at the scene one minute after the 911 call, officers said the gunmen had already run away. Nothing was taken from the home.

    "When he made entry he encountered the victim just a few feet on the other side of the door," Hayes said as he showed Channel 2's Tony Thomas around the crime scene.

    Police told Thomas that Burkett's fiancé was so terrified she was in hiding and didn't want to talk publicly about the crime. She was able to provide police with a sketch of the man she said burst into her home.

    Neighbors admit to being on edge with the gunman still at large.

    "Everybody is scared, everybody is looking. Everybody is scared leaving their garage," neighbor Sasha Evans said.

    Police told Thomas they have not figured out a motive and wonder if the gunman was trying to target another house.

    They say it was obvious someone was home on the Saturday night he hit. Burkett was a retired state worker whom police said had no known enemies or disputes. Detectives said he lived in Gainesville and only visited Griffin sporadically.

    Police and residents are hoping the sketch and reward will help break the case.

    "You'd think you would be safe in your own home, but you're not," Evans said.

    Crime Stoppers and a donation from the community have brought the reward in the Burkett case to $7,000.

    Anyone with information in this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.

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    Police release sketch, raise reward in Griffin murder case