UPDATE: Jury finds Taylor County man guilty of murder

Kenneth Burns was found guilty of killing his ex-wife.
A trial began Tuesday for a Perry man accused of killing his ex-wife.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:45 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 4:18 PM EST
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Update at 6 p.m. on Jan. 25: Kenneth Burns was found guilty of first-degree murder by a Taylor County jury.

WCTV reporter Savannah Kelly is in the courtroom. Stay with us for any updates.

Update at 4:00 p.m. on Jan. 25: A jury is now deliberating on whether to convict Kenneth Burns, who is accused of killing his ex-wife.

The jury has been deliberating for an hour and a half after hearing testimony from several witnesses today, including Burns himself.

Burns claims he killed his ex-wife in self-defense.

“She just kept coming, trying to take the knife. I kind of flipped right there, just continued stabbing, swinging until she didn’t come at me. I was scared she was gonna take the knife and stab me again,” said Burns.

Burns is charged with first-degree murder, but the jury could choose to convict him of a lesser charge.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A trial began Tuesday for a Perry man accused of killing his ex-wife.

Kenneth Burns was arrested in May 2020, a day after his ex-wife Lori Carlton was found dead in a home on Foley Cutoff Road. Burns is accused of stabbing Carlton multiple times.

The first witness to testify in court was Jordan Thigpen, a Taylor Co. sheriff deputy who responded to the scene. He said when they arrived at the home, they heard a baby crying.

“As we came around the corner, following the sound of the baby crying, you could see him sitting on the floor covered in blood,” Thigpen said. “And as we walked into the bedroom, there was a female lying there in a pool of blood.”

Deputies say Burns returned home the next day, wearing pants covered in blood. Prosecutors played body camera footage in court, showing Burns turning himself in.

Prosecutor John Weed argued Burns deliberately killed Carlton.

“This was not a fight,” Weed said. “This was not a struggle. This was an attack. This was a murder.”

Burns’s attorney, Nathan Prince, tells a different story. He claims Carlton attacked Burns first. Prince said it started with an argument, which led to Carlton hitting Burns in the back of the head with a multi-tool knife. He claims the two fought over the weapon, and Burns ended up killing Carlton in self-defense. He acknowledged Tuesday that the jury would likely not be sympathetic to his client.

“You’re not going to want to find the defendant not guilty. Not a single person on this panel is going to want to find the defendant not guilty,” Prince told the jury. “And a person is justified and has no duty to retreat if they’re in their home and are using deadly force to ward off the commission of a forcible felony.”

The prosecution called seven witnesses Tuesday, some of whom described Carlton and Burns as having a volatile, on-again, off-again relationship. One witness, an acquaintance of Burns, said after the murder, Burns told him that his ex-wife “got what she deserved.”

The jury also heard from Carlton’s sister and an FDLE crime lab analyst.

The trial will continue Wednesday, with more than a dozen witnesses still set to speak.