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“A slap in the face:” family of Taylor Co. murder victim upset suspect granted bond

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:34 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The mother and best friend of a Taylor County murder victim are speaking out after the man accused in the death was granted bond.

Kenneth Burns is accused of killing his 40-year-old ex-wife, Lori, in his Perry home in May 2020.

Since then, he has been in the Taylor County jail. But that could change.

During a pre-trial hearing last week, a judge granted Burns a $1 million bond, leaving those close to the victim shocked.

“It’s like never ending for me,” said Patricia Shiflett, who had to bury her first-born child.

“I re-live her being killed, what she went through, was she begging for her life? Was she begging for her son, my grandchild’s life?”

Month after month, Shiflett signs onto zoom for pre-trial hearings, to “represent her daughter” each time.

Last week, she says she was stunned at what unfolded: “I’m angry. I’m hurt.”

Shiflett says Kenneth Burns’ mother spoke in the hearing, asking he be granted bond. In the end, the judge did.

Burns needs $100,000 to leave jail, according to Shiflett.

Leslie Dean was Lori’s best friend for years. She also was distraught to learn Burns may get out.

“It is a slap in the face. And it is disgusting...and I really wish someone could explain to us exactly how they came to the point where they believe he is entitled to that. He’s not entitled to anything,” she said.

In Florida, bond for someone accused of a capital crime requires a hearing.

One of the few high profile examples in the Big Bend came in 2017, during the murder trial of Adam Frasch.

He was accused of murdering his wife. He was granted bond.

His defense attorney Clyde Taylor told WCTV the burden is on the state to show overwhelming evidence of guilt. Otherwise, a judge can grant bond.

It’s a tough reality for victim’s families.

“It’ll never make sense,” Dean said. “Never.”

At last check, Burns had not bonded out of the Taylor County Jail.

WCTV requested comment from his defense attorney, but has not yet heard back.

The State Attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit, John Durrett, declined to comment on an active case.

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