When we last left off, the burning question was, would Burgess bite and lead us to Cary?
The answer, in short, is no.
Tom Hawley is a local newscaster whose revisits old Las Vegas cases using the archival footage of KSNV News 3. He aired this look back at the Burgess case this week:
Burgess repeatedly put Perry off, at one point he told him he’d “never tell anybody” where Cary was.
Now I came up with a plan, one last shot at finding Cary’s remains and handing a murder case over to the DA’s Office, where Burgess would face the death penalty.
My plan: if Burgess wouldn’t come to the mountain, the mountain would come to him.
We would open Perry’s barrel and place a transponder in it. Perry would surprise, no, shock Burgess, by showing up at his house and just dropping his barrel on his lawn.
Perry would tell Burgess that the FBI was presently searching his home, that he knew his storage shed would be next, and that Burgess had better take the barrel where it could not be found. Immediately. If he didn’t, a dead FBI agent would be discovered in a steel drum along with the weapon which had killed him – the .22 and silencer which Burgess had sold him, replete with Jerald Burgess’ fingerprints all over them.
The FBI, institutionally, never liked me directing investigations (although every case in which I did so on got them huge press, a Bureau priority).
Someone, I suspect someone over Henry Schlumpf’s head, refused to try my last ditch attempt to find the missing child’s body and settled for several firearms charges.
I was livid, and transferred the case to another AUSA in the section I supervised.
We would eventually learn that while being “handled” by the FBI, their informant. Perry, was running a Ponzi scheme – right under their noses. $22 million dollars in cash was recovered from him. There goes our CI, right down the toilet.
When the case finally went to trial, I volunteered to “second chair” the AUSA to whom I’d transferred it, Peter Ko. Pete was (and is) brilliant, and he didn’t need any help from me, but I was still very interested in the case, and two heads are (usually) better than one.
Then the locals, whom I had hoped to give a murder case on a silver platter, locked Perry up for the Ponzi scheme, right before our trial. Without even consulting us, they completely eliminated Perry as a potential witness. For all I know, their decision may have had something to do with the fact that they had tried Burgess for Cary’s kidnapping in 1981, and lost. Perhaps they did not appreciate the public being reminded of that by our efforts.
Then – this is becoming almost unbelievable – they tacked on child pornography and sexual abuse charges, while our jury was deliberating!
Incredible juxtaposition of Perry / Burgess articles in the Las Vegas Review Journal
To make matters even more complicated, the FBI had authorized Perry to “investigate” child pornography, and those charges were ultimately dismissed in return for a plea to the massive fraud case.
This was all just as well, our informant, Franklyn Perry was a piece of garbage. And we had plenty of evidence, including Burgess’ confession (to the guns, but not the silencer).
But let’s not forget that Perry was not the rapist and child-murderer, Burgess was.
A jury convicted Burgess on all counts at the close of a bizarre trial, doing which both Burgess and his wife testified.
Frankly, it seemed apparent to me that they were both mentally ill.
They contradicted each other and made outlandish claims:
– the FBI had set Burgess up
– Burgess was actually investigating Perry for the FBI
– Mrs. Burgess had never seen two boxes of ammunition recovered from a refrigerator with a lock of it at their home, it must have been planted (notwithstanding a receipt for the 1976 purchase of a .380 caliber pistol, along with the .380 caliber ammunition, by Mrs. Burgess, which receipt matched the exact same price as stickers still on the ammo)
– Mrs. Burgess hadn’t been in the refrigerator in more than 8 months, notwithstanding a sworn declaration she submitted to the court claiming that the refrigerator had been burglarized 4 months earlier, listing the contents as 95 “items” totaling millions of dollars. Any one “item” could mean any number of actual things.
For example, “Item # 1” was 600 one ounce silver bars; “item # 10” was 57 rings, diamonds, rubies, and sapphires; another “item” was an invaluable baseball card collection including several Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra cards. Mrs. Burgess referred to him as “Yoga Barret” in her testimony.
The most outlandish claims of all – they hadn’t even bothered to report the theft, and nothing was insured, because they couldn’t afford the insurance!
The gist of the defense was that of a Government conspiracy against the Burgesses.
Meanwhile lurking in the background adding to the bizarre circus was a lowlife pal of Burgess who published a free Las Vegas “newspaper” (read: rag) which reported, among others lies, that myself and Peter Ko had pulled guns on him – in the federal courthouse!
Burgess was sentenced to about 11 1/2 years in federal prison. Through his attorney. I threatened to charge both he and his wife unless he gave us the location of Cary’s remains. He didn’t blink an eye.
And so Jerald Burgess, now 82, goes on living his life in Las Vegas today.
And little Cary lies somewhere, hopefully in peace in heaven – forever 6 years old.