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Marquail Burney ordered to undergo mental evaluation

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Bladenboro man charged with first-degree murder in death of father's fiancee
Marquail Allen Burney

Marquail Allen Burney was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation and had his next court date set during a brief appearance Tuesday morning in Bladen County District Court.

The 20-year-old Bladenboro man is being held without bond on a first degree murder charge in the death of Crystal Dionne Cruz on Oct. 13. Cruz was the fiancee of Marquail Burney’s father, David Burney. The three lived in a home along N.C. 41 West.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit with “Bladen County Jail” stenciled on the back and shackled in handcuffs, Burney didn’t speak during his appearance before Judge Fred Gore. Gore, on request from counsel, ordered the evaluation and set Burney’s next court date for Dec. 21. Burney was then escorted back to jail. He was in the courtroom less than 15 minutes.

According to Bladen County Sheriff James McVicker, officers were called to the residence of David Burney about 11:37 p.m. on Oct. 13 after David Burney reported Cruz missing. David Burney told investigators that he had arrived home from work and thought Cruz was asleep in the bedroom. When he went to check, he noticed she was missing.

David Burney told investigators that his son, Marquail, had left the residence on foot after David Burney questioned him about Cruz’s disappearance, McVicker said.

After a search near the residence, Cruz’s body was found in a vehicle in the backyard, McVicker said.

McVicker said the investigation found that Marquail Burney stole a vehicle shortly after walking away from the home. An investigator spotted Marquail Burney and the stolen vehicle at a retail store parking lot in Lumberton on Oct. 14. Marquail Burney was taken into custody without incident.

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