JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man and a woman are charged with second-degree murder in the killing of the man's wife, Velvet Burns, who was found dead May 9 in the couple's home Westside home, police announced Monday.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says Jerry Burns, 50, was having an affair with Amanda Love, 31, and paid her $5,000 to arrange for other suspects to kill Velvet Burns and make it look like a burglary.
Police said the persons who carried out the crime, one of whom is not yet in custody, were given $5,000 in advance and promised more when Jerry Burns collected on the victim's insurance policy.
Velvet Burns, 44, (pictured, right) was found dead in their home on Doris Lane, near the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Jones Road. Jerry Burns was in Tallahassee that day, police said trying to establish an alibi.
"I don't know if words can express what Velvet was -- a very loving mother, very into her children's lives," longtime friend Rachel Fuller said. "It's heart-wrenching."
Crystal Strickland said Velvet Burns was her best friend. She said she found Velvet Burns' body and immediately called police when she saw the backdoor of the home was left open.
"Oh my gosh. That was the worst day of my life," Strickland said.
Strickland said she was shocked to learn of Jerry Burns' arrest.
"I find it so hard to believe because he got to the scene of the crime, and he just fell to his knees and kept pounding the ground," Strickland said. "He kept telling me that she was his life, and that's why I find this to be so devastating."
Strickland said Velvet and Jerry Burns were together for 27 years and known as a hardworking couple. She described the mother of two as a huge advocate for her kids.
"It's really hard for all of us, and we're really worried about their kids. I just can't imagine how her kids are feeling right now and our prayers go out to them," Strickland said.
Love, a mother of five, was taken into custody Friday morning at UF Health Jacksonville and the arrest report shows she made a statement to police. Jerry Burns asked for a lawyer when police attempted to question him Friday afternoon.
Love, who court records show went through a divorce last year, was arrested last week for failing to keep her children in school. Jerry Burns has no criminal history in Duval County.