TWO WOMEN ARE DEAD AND THE PRIME SUSPECT IS A DECORATED SOLDIER - CAN THE ARMY CONVICT ONE OF ITS OWN? "48 HOURS: HONOR AND DISHONOR," SATURDAY, FEB. 16, 2013
CBS News' 48 HOURS: "Honor and Dishonor" takes viewers inside for a rare look at the Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) judicial system as it handles a case of double murder. The case involves a decorated soldier at Fort Campbell, Ky., home of the famed 101st Airborne.
Richard Schlesinger and the 48 HOURS team investigate the 2007 murders of Tracy Burke and Karen Comer and the subsequent attempted prosecution of their alleged killer, Army Sergeant Brent Burke. It's a story about a fractured military family that brings viewers inside an Army court-martial where 48 HOURS was granted special access to both the prosecution and defense teams of the JAG Corps.
Tracy Burke and her ex-husband's mother, Karen Comer, were shot dead in Comer's Rineyville, Ky., home while Tracy's three young children were left unharmed. Fearing for his life, Tracy's 9-year-old son, Matthew Pete, waited until the next day to call 911.
"Somebody broke into our house last night... I don't know who it was, but they killed everybody here except my sister, my brother and me," Matthew says in in the 911 call included in 48 HOURS: "Honor and Dishonor" to be broadcast Saturday, Feb. 16 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. He added in a 48 HOURS interview, "I hear a couple of gunshots going through and some glass breaking and my grandma screaming that she's dying."
The boy told police he didn't know who the gunman was, but was certain he was wearing a camouflage jacket like one he remembered was in his stepdad Sgt. Brent Burke's closet.
Local police soon turned to Burke, a military policeman at Fort Campbell. Brent and Tracy Burke had been going through a divorce, which her father says had gotten nasty. The marriage was strained after Brent did a 13-month stint in Afghanistan. While he was away, Tracy dropped 60 pounds and bought a Camaro. After he returned, she filed for divorce. Tracy Burke and the children moved in with Karen Comer. Brent Burke went to live at Fort Campbell, a military base once under the command of Gen. David Petraeus, that was 140 miles away.
However, there was no physical evidence tying Brent Burke to the crime scene. Burke also maintains in an interview with a local TV correspondent he's "an innocent man." Though it seemed like an easy case, four civilian trials ended without a decision. Then the JAG team took on the case. But could the military get a conviction where civilian courts could not?
"This is a fellow soldier. He's deployed. He had been at Fort Campbell for many years. He had served his country. So it's not something that's entered into lightly," JAG prosecutor Captain Janae Lepir tells 48 HOURS.
48 HOURS: "Honor and Dishonor" examines the four civilian trials that handled Burke's case that all ended in mistrials before it was taken on by the Army's JAG Corps. 48 HOURS: "Honor and Dishonor" is produced by Marcelena Spencer. Michelle Feuer and Claire Anderson are the field producers. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
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