Friend stunned after couple found dead: ‘I’m heartbroken’

Posted at 11:16 AM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 18:33:16-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- One day after a man was found dead in a Shockoe Slip building, Richmond Police confirmed his girlfriend was also found dead. Richard Burton, 58, of Heckler Street in Henrico, was found dead Wednesday morning inside a building along the 1300 block of East Cary Street. Police said it appeared Burton had shot and killed himself.

1300 block of East Cary Street

1300 block of East Cary Street

"Investigation of that incident led detectives to conduct a welfare check on Mr. Burton’s girlfriend," a Richmond Police spokeswoman said. "At 6:24 p.m. yesterday, officers responded to the residence in the 2400 block of Burton Street. Inside they located the body of Velda L. Garner, 57, of the 2400 block of Burton Street, who had suffered an apparent gunshot wound."

2400 block of Burton Street in Richmond (PHOTO: Chelsea Rarrick)

2400 block of Burton Street in Richmond (PHOTO: Chelsea Rarrick)

David Abbott works at a business near where the body was found. His co-workers discovered the man early Wednesday morning.

Abbott and others said that Richard Burton didn't work at the businesses in the area, and have no idea what brought him to that location.

Elizabeth Taylor is a friend of Velda Garner

"It was a sad day," she told reporter Chelsea Rarrick, "I'm heartbroken, it really hurt me."

She said Garner had suffered from substance abuse, but was on her way to get her life back on track. Taylor said she had been accepted into a treatment program out of state.

"She just got the suitcase to pack her clothes to get on the bus, too little too late," said Taylor.

Virginia State Police confirm that Burton was a registered sex offender. According to the registry he was a violent offender and was convicted of rape in 1986.

Police, who said the case remains under investigation, have not yet said whether they believed Burton killed Garner.

Anyone with information was asked to call Major Crimes Detective Arcellious Demery at 804-646-5999 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000. Anyone with a news tip or photo can submit it here.



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