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Man Convicted In Death Of Marshall Student Says No To Clemency

Reported by: Send eMail Tiersa Davis
Web Producer: Tiersa Davis
Also Contributing: Stefano DiPietrantonio, Heath Harrison
Reported: Dec. 26, 2013 2:08 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 26, 2013 10:42 PM EST


Fulks No Clemency
Eyewitness News Photo

Huntington , West Virginia

Reported by Stefano DiPietrantonio
One of the men accused of killing a Marshall University student said he won't fight his execution.

The family of victim Samantha Burns spoke out Thursday night.

Chadrick Fulks said he will not ask for clemency and wants to free his lawyers to work for other inmates who have a chance for an appeal.

Fulks and Brandon Basham were sentenced to death for killing Burns and another woman, Alice Donovan of South Carolina, during a 17-day crime spree after escaping from jail in 2002.

Burns was kidnapped from the parking lot of the Huntington Mall in Barboursville. Her body has never been found.

The family of Burns is hopeful they will get answers before Fulks is killed.

Her father, Don Burns, said they have never given-up hope they will find her body and that maybe something new will come to light before Fulks dies.

It was almost unprecedented that Fulks was allowed off of death row briefly to assist in the most recent searches for Burns' body.

Back in March, dozens of volunteers, State Police, FBI agents and search dogs went back to a heavily wooded area off Route 75 in Wayne County, but came away empty-handed.

The family said Fulks dying still does not bring them Samantha's remains or the closure they so desperately want.

"That's his life,” Tammy Adkins, Burns’ aunt, said. “What we're worried about is bringing Samantha's remains back. That doesn't help us have any closure at all. We all say a special prayer, especially my dad. When we say a prayer before we eat, he always says a special prayer for God to help us bring Samantha home. We will look until we die or until we find her - one of the two.”

Don Burns said not a day goes by that he thinks about and misses his only daughter.

Friends of the family said it has been devastating for everybody in West Hamlin.

"It's very hard, because it's such a terrible thing, you know, over whatever they were trying to get,” family friend Aileene Gartin said. “They should have just released her. The family would have given them anything to just let her come home. And now a giant question mark, so sad."

A sign in downtown West Hamlin points to the ball fields which have been re-named after Burns, and below it is a wreath that is changed with the seasons, a sort of perpetual monument.

The family said they have a beautiful headstone with Samantha's name on it in the cemetery, where they can take flowers and say prayers, but knowing her remains are not in the grave has been heartbreaking.

The federal government is still in the process of finalizing its lethal injection method.

As soon as that is done, Fulks will be scheduled to die for the murder of Donovan.

A federal inmate on death row for killing a South Carolina woman and Marshall University student after escaping from a Kentucky jail wants to bypass any attempt to save his own life and accept an execution date once it is set.

Chadrick Evan Fulks said he wants to free his lawyers to work for inmates "that do have a chance" of winning a reprieve or an appeal and not spend time and energy on him.

Fulks of West Hamlin, W.Va., and Brandon Basham were sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing Alice Donovan, 44, of Galivants Ferry, S.C., and Marshall University student Samantha Burns in 2002. The pair went on a 17-day crime spree through Kentucky, West Virginia and South Carolina after escaping from a jail in western Kentucky in 2002.

The federal government is in the midst of finalizing its lethal injection method and has not scheduled any executions.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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