POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Department Of Law Enforcement agents served an arrest warrant on Marlon Tyrone Burgess, 37, Lake Wales, after agents say he killed a witness who was planning to testify against him in an upcoming attempted murder trial.
On Tuesday, FDLE charged Burgess with first-degree murder, kidnapping, tampering with physical evidence, attempted murder, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Burgess was arrested on June 3, 2020, for violation of his pretrial release and was served this arrest warrant while incarcerated.
Hardee County Sheriff’s Office and Lake Wales Police Department assisted FDLE on this case.
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FDLE began its investigation in 2020 after the body of a 20-year-old male was found in an orange grove in Hardee County.
The victim, who had been beaten and stabbed, was planning to testify against Burgess after being shot by him in 2019.
Burgess, who was out of jail at the time of the murder on pretrial diversion, tried repeatedly to contact the victim to keep him from testifying.
The investigation shows when that failed, Burgess came up with a plan to kill the victim.
Once the victim died, his body was disposed of in a Hardee County orange grove.
FDLE Tampa Bay Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell said, “Friends of this suspect described him as dangerous and willing to do whatever was needed to avoid going back to prison. So, with cold and calculating persistence Burgess came up with a plan to murder the one person who could put him back behind bars. I appreciate the work of our FDLE agents and analysts and our partners at Hardee County Sheriff’s Office and Lake Wales PD in their work to take Burgess out of our communities for a very long time.”
“We are extremely pleased with this indictment, and pray it brings some closure to the victim’s family. This indictment would not be possible without the dedication and tenacity of members from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Lake Wales Police Department, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office, especially Detective Alice Simandl, who was the lead investigator from our agency,” said Hardee County Sheriff Vent Crawford.
The investigation is ongoing and additional suspects are expected to be indicted. Anyone with information about this case can contact FDLE Tampa Bay (800) 226-1140.