Timeline of Lamar Burks 1997 murder conviction

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HOUSTON – A man is behind bars for nearly two decades for a murder that rocked a Houston neighborhood.

In 2000, Lamar Burks, then 28, was sentenced to 70 years in prison for the murder of Earl Perry during a dice game in the Fifth Ward. Since Burks' conviction, however, new questions have emerged about the investigation.

The federal agent at the center of the case, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Chad Scott, is now in trouble for lying on other cases and intimidating witnesses.

And, since Scott's indictment, arrest and conviction, key witnesses have flipped their stories, now claiming that Burks didn't do it. They originally told different stories, claiming they feared retaliation from law enforcement.

Scott awaits sentencing later this year as Burks awaits an evidence hearing later this month.

June 30, 1997

Earl Perry was shot at 3810 Cavalcade in Houston and was dead at the scene at 2:48 a.m. He had a gunshot wound to the back, gunshot wound to the left buttock and another through the left foot. Click here for the Earl Perry autopsy report.

Oct. 15, 1997 

Lamar Burks was arrested for Earl Perry’s death.

May 11, 1998

Burks’ indictment was dismissed. The chief witness in the state’s case, Kevin Scales, was unavailable. The state tried to locate the witness through a witness bond. The state cannot try the case without the chief witness. Click here to read the dismissal, and click here to read Kevin Scales' witness bond paperwork.

May 8, 2000

Harris County prosecutors presented their case again to a grand jury as the state presented a new eyewitness.

Later in 2019, in a sworn affidavit, Randy Lewis claimed, “agents Scott and Schumacher also forced me to testify falsely before a Harris Grand Jury ... so they could obtain the indictment against Lamar and Derevin ... Derevin Whitaker was the person who shot and killed Earl. Whitaker agreed to become Scott’s informant and falsely implicate Lamar in the murder.

Click here to read the 2019 redacted affidavit.

May 8, 2000

The grand jury indicted Lamar Burks and Derevin Whitaker. Click here to read the Derevin Whitaker grand jury document.

Sept. 28, 2000

Derevin Whitaker was booked into jail.

Oct. 18, 2000

Derevin Whitaker’s murder case was dismissed.

Oct. 25, 2000 

Clayton Brown was arrested for Earl Perry’s murder. According to a sworn affidavit Brown signed in 2019, Brown was coerced by law enforcement to say he was involved, but Brown refused to testify at the trial. Click here to read the affidavit.

Oct. 30, 2000

A Harris County jury convicted Burks of murder after a weeklong trial. Burks was sentenced to 70 years in prison.

Jan. 15, 2002

Clayton Brown accepted a plea deal. He was sentenced to five years in prison for the murder of Perry. Brown waived his right for an appeal. Click here to read appeal.

Oct. 2, 2017

An indictment was unsealed against Scott. He was indicted with obstruction of justice, perjury, falsifying records in a federal investigation, seeking and receiving an illegal gratuity, conversion of property by an officer or employee of the United States and removing property to prevent seizure and conspiracy.  

Jan. 14, 2019

Burks filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus in the 208th Judicial District Court before Judge Greg Glass. Click here to read Burks' appeal.

Aug. 27, 2019

Scott was convicted by a federal jury in New Orleans of perjury, obstruction of justice and falsifying government records.

According to the evidence presented during the seven-day trial, Scott, while a DEA special agent in New Orleans, committed the crimes in and around the New Orleans and Houston areas.

Specifically, the evidence showed that Scott directed a Houston-based drug trafficker to buy a Ford F-150 truck worth approximately $43,000 and forfeit the truck to Scott as part of the drug trafficker’s cooperation.

Scott then falsified the seizure paperwork for the truck in various aspects, including falsely claiming that he had seized the truck in New Orleans instead of Houston, in order to facilitate the vehicle being forfeited and given to Scott as his official government vehicle.

Additionally, the evidence showed that Scott persuaded the same Houston-based drug trafficker, as well as another drug trafficker in Houston, to testify falsely at a federal trial in New Orleans as to the identification of a major cocaine and heroin supplier in the Houston area.

Along with obstructing justice by inducing the false testimony, Scott then himself committed perjury during a motion session as well as during the federal trial, the evidence showed. 

After a trial that included the false testimony, the alleged supplier was found guilty. Once Scott’s actions and the false testimony came to light, the case against the alleged supplier was dismissed by the court at the request of the United States.

Sept. 30, 2019

Lamar Burks' evidentiary hearing is scheduled in Harris County.

Dec. 4, 2019

Scott's sentencing is scheduled in Louisiana.

About the Authors:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.