El Dorado News

Sunday
February 25, 2018
El Dorado News Times

Suspect in car murder caught in Houston bus station

By Tia Lyons
This article was published February 13, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

A Louisiana man has been apprehended in connection to the slaying of a woman who was found dead inside a car over the weekend in El Dorado.

Jeffery Jerome Burton, 43, of Cullen, Louisiana, was taken into custody at approximately 1 p.m. Monday at a bus station in Houston, El Dorado police said.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Burton on charges of first-degree murder, arson and enhanced penalty for committing a felony with a firearm.

Burton is suspected in the killing of 41-year-old Gemina Stromile, of Plain Dealing, Louisiana. Stromile was found dead Saturday inside her car in the area of West Main and Oak Valley, just north of Stars Cinema.

At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, El Dorado police were called to the area of West Main and Oak Valley in reference to a welfare concern and upon arrival, they discovered a woman, later identified as Stromile unresponsive inside a red, four-door Pontiac car.

Officers said the car was parked on the edge of a wooded area and was not near any houses in the West Main subdivision.

Emergency medical workers were summoned to the area and Stromile was pronounced dead on the scene, and police investigated the death as a homicide.

Capt. Kevin Holt, public information officer for the El Dorado Police Department, said the body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock for autopsy.

Holt said Burton was developed as a suspect in the ongoing investigation and a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest.

“We believe it was a boyfriend-girlfriend situation. There was an attempt to burn the vehicle, and there was damage to the interior of the vehicle,” Holt said.

He declined to release details on injuries sustained by Stromile, citing a medical examination that will be performed by the state crime lab.

Police said Burton has ties to Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and California. They believed he was headed to California with a stop planned in Houston.

Authorities in all five states were placed on alert, and on Monday, Holt said law enforcement officers in Houston notified the EPD that Burson had been taken into custody at a bus station.

Holt said EPD investigators are trying to determine why the couple was in El Dorado and how the car wound up in the location where officers found it.

The city set up a barricade in the area years ago at the request of several residents to close the neighborhood to through traffic. Holt said the barricade, which is adjacent to Stars Cinema, had been moved when officers arrived on the scene.

“People sometimes come through there and move that barricade, and it was open on Saturday,” he said.

Holt said an extradition hearing will be held for Burson in Houston, noting that the process may take several days.

Burson may challenge extradition to Arkansas — an act that would pull the governors of both states into the matter.

“That’s when our governor sends a letter to their governor, letting him know what charges we have against him,” Holt said. “Then, their governor decides whether to extradite him back here.”

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@eldoradonews. com.

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