ALBEMARLE — Nearly nine years after a local resident was found dead in his home, the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office is still seeking the public’s assistance in untangling the truth behind the unsolved murder.
On May 12, 2013, just outside Albemarle’s city limits, 27-year-old Jason Burleson was discovered deceased in the basement of his home, shot and tied to a chair, with his mouth and nose duct-taped. His house had been ransacked and plundered, but there was no trace of who the culprit or culprits might be — nor any indication on why the tragic murder occurred.
Almost a decade later, the sheriff’s office is not giving up its effort to track down and bring the murderer to justice. In order to do that, they are reaching out to media to bring the case back to the public’s attention.
“Our purpose for this is to try to reach somebody that maybe wouldn’t come forward with information years ago but will come forward now,” Capt. Chris Huneycutt of the SCSO told SCJ. “We’ve tried to give his mother and all of his family some closure. We still talk with her on a very regular basis, and she’s just as distraught about it today as she was on the day it happened. This is one of those situations where time doesn’t heal all wounds for all people.”
As for any possible new leads in the case’s trail, Huneycutt said that “there’s not much to go on” and that years of questioning have also yielded years of unfounded rumors: “We have a tremendous amount of information in this case, and yet none of it appears to be usable, credible information.”
Over 40 people were interviewed by authorities involved in this case; repeated interviews multiple years later with the same people did not generate any new leads or new accounts pertaining to the tragic event, only a common narrative surrounding Burleson’s positive reputation among his friends and family.
“The overarching thing whenever we’ve gone back and interviewed people at this point is that not one person has said a bad thing about Jason,” Detective Karcin Vick-Dunn said. “Everybody loved him, like he was the one person who would do anything for anybody.”
In the meantime, the sheriff’s office will be re-examining the actual physical evidence that was collected at the crime scene, hoping that advances in technology between 2013 and 2022 could possibly make some of that evidence more useful — and hoping that its plea to the community will produce new information.
“Sometimes people think, ‘Well, I know stuff, but it might not matter.’ But a lot of times, it’s that information that does matter. The things that people think are insignificant, to us having seen the file but haven’t looked at everything, they’re the critical pieces. So we are asking anyone to come forward,” Huneycutt continued.
Stanly County Crime Stoppers is still offering a $15,000 reward in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Burleson’s death. Anyone with any information at all pertaining to the murder case is advised to contact Stanly County Crime Stoppers at 704-982-0711, Lt. Joseph Lawing at 704-986-3738, or Huneycutt at 704-986-3690.