As the victim’s relatives bowed their heads, a song about shooting blacks echoed in a small courtroom Wednesday during the trial of a former soldier accused of killing a black couple.
“Point it at their heads and let’s have some fun. … It’s so much fun to mow them down,” went the lyrics of one song.
James Burmeister, a former Fort Bragg soldier, is charged with murder and conspiracy in the 1995 deaths of Michael James, 36, and Jackie Burden, 27. Prosecutors played the song in an effort to show that he killed the couple because of his extremist beliefs.
A witness said the two songs played in court were Burmeister’s favorites.
When defense attorneys argued the songs weren’t relevant, District Attorney Ed Grannis described one as “a premonition of what happened to my two victims.” The couple was shot as they took a walk along a dirt street two blocks from the courthouse.
Prosecutors contend the victims were executed as part of a skinhead initiation rite. Burmeister, 21, could be sentenced to death if convicted. Also charged with murder is Malcolm Wright, 22, whose trial is scheduled for March in Wilmington.
Another former soldier, Randy Meadows, 22, was charged with conspiracy. He is testifying against Burmeister as part of a plea bargain.
The three men, all white, have been discharged from the Army, where they were members of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Meadows testified Wednesday about his friendship with Burmeister, and their life on and off the Army base outside Fayetteville.
The defense contends the case is based on Meadow’s lies.
Meadows told of accompanying Burmeister to beat up black drug dealers and prostitutes. They followed one to her house and sprayed her with Mace and knocked her down in her doorway, Meadows testified.
“It was Burmeister’s idea of having fun, wasn’t it?” Grannis said.
“Yes sir,” Meadows answered.
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