Florence Woman Receives 20-Year Sentence for Manslaughter

For Immediate Release
June 22, 2010
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Tammy Lynn Burchfield received a 20-year sentence, through a plea agreement, for manslaughter in the death of Ruth Griffin.

On May 28, 2010, Rankin County law enforcement officials were called to 152 Oak Street, in Florence, where an 85-year-old woman had been shot. When officers arrived they observed that the victim had been shot once in the chest. They then began to speak with both the victim’s son and Ms. Burchfield and determined that both were extremely intoxicated.

What first was reported to be a suicide quickly turned into a murder investigation when neighbors came forward to tell law enforcement about an argument they heard shortly before the victim was shot in her back yard. The lack of powder burns around the entrance wound and the fact that the firearm had been moved into the house heightened suspicion that the victim’s death was not the result of a suicide.

Gunshot residue tests were performed on Tammy Lynn Burchfield and she tested positive for GSR. Tammy Burchfield voluntarily agreed to submit to a polygraph examination, which she failed. Following the polygraph examination, Burchfield was again interviewed and she admitted that she did in fact shoot the victim, but stated the shooting was an accident and that she did not intend to kill Ms. Griffin.

Guest stated, “The investigation of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department showed that Ms. Burchfield caused the death of the victim. The evidence also pointed to the fact that the victim’s death was the result of Ms. Burchfield’s negligence and therefore she was allowed to enter a plea of guilty to manslaughter. Her extreme negligence caused the death of Ms. Griffin and has resulted in Burchfield being sentenced to serve the next 20 years of her life behind bars. There are deadly consequences when guns and alcohol are mixed, which in this case, resulted in the death of Ruth Griffin.”

Guest concluded, “The Rankin County Sheriff’s Department did an outstanding job of investigating this case. Because of their hard work, we were able to fast track this case to obtain a plea of guilty in less than 30 days after the crime was committed. They are to be commended for all of the great work they do for us every day.”