Murder suspect admits role, affidavit says

David Burnett

A 20-year-old man being held in connection with a January homicide in Pine Bluff told police he drove the getaway vehicle when the killing took place, according to a statement made Wednesday by the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney's office.

David Burnett, who appeared on Wednesday morning at a probable cause hearing that was presented via Zoom, sat quietly while District Judge Phillip Green, who would later decide there was sufficient evidence to charge Burnett with capital murder and aggravated robbery, presided over the hearing. Green advised Burnett not to talk about his version of the incident without first talking to his attorney.

At that point, Joe West, a county prosecutor, read from an affidavit written by Detective Jason Boykin of the Pine Bluff Police Department.

West said the case goes back to Jan. 4, when 22-year-old Demarcuz Scott was gunned down at the Regency Arms Apartments at 2401 W. 31st Ave. Scott was pronounced dead at the scene.

West said an eyewitness said Scott left an apartment in the complex and went downstairs "to execute a drug deal he set up by Facebook messenger." The witness, West said, "stated that two individuals opened fire on Mr. Scott and then left the scene in a white SUV."

"Throughout this investigation, the defendant was developed as a suspect as being the driver of the SUV," West said, reading from the affidavit. "Mr. Burnett gave a Mirandized statement on the 20th [of March] where he admitted to talking to Mr. Scott, setting up the drug deal, being the driver of the SUV and transporting the shooters to and from the scene of the murder."

Green said he was going to accept the recommendation from the prosecuting attorney's office that there was sufficient evidence for the two charges against Burnett and then asked Burnett if he would be able to hire his own attorney.

"I ain't going to be able to do one myself," Burnett said.

Green then told Burnett a public defender would be appointed to represent him and that an April 25 hearing would be held to make sure the case was progressing. The judge also told Burnett that based on the recommendation from the prosecutor's office, Burnett would be held without bail.

The prosecutor's office also said that, at the time of Burnett's arrest, he was out on bond on a charge of first-degree battery. That case, West said, had not had time to work through the court system.

Green asked Burnett if he had any questions about the probable cause hearing.

"I do, but I'll talk to the lawyer," Burnett said.

While police were responding to an incident on Oak Street on Monday night in which a 14-year-old boy had been shot in the head, they arrested Burnett, who was inside a house at 1707 S. Oak St., the same address listed for where the boy was shot. Police have said, however, that Burnett was arrested in connection with the January homicide and not in connection with the boy's shooting.