Alleged triggerman in slaying of Daytona Beach man faces murder trial this month; accomplice gets life sentence / courts

Convicted murderer Shane BurnsAccused murderer Montario RoyalsCourtesy photos / Shane Burns, far left, is in prison for life and Montario Royals could join him, if convicted of the same charge of first-degree felony murder in the shooting death of James Tolbert of Daytona Beach. Click the attachments to read the police report and indictment.

DAYTONA BEACH -- It's one down and one to go in the prosecution of two men in the Nov. 27, 2009, attempted robbery and gunshot-slaying of 34-year-old James Tolbert outside his Daytona Beach apartment.

Even though 23-year-old Shane Burns of Homerville, Ga., denied being the shooter at trial two months ago, but the prosecution maintained his mere presence and active participation in the attempted robbery that led to the shooting was enough to find him guilty of first-degree felony murder in Tolbert's death.

Certainly the jury didn't buy Burns' argument in taking a mere 20 minutes of deliberation after the day-and-a-half trial before finding him guilty of the main murder charge as well as attempted robbery with a firearm.

Murder victiom James TolbertCourtesy photos / At left is murder victoim James Tolbert of Daytona Beach.

A week ago, prosecutors Celeste Gagne and Ed Davis asked Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson to put Burns behind bars for life and the judge did just that.

That paves the way for the prosecutors to go after the alleged triggerman, 24-year-old Montario Royals, who is scheduled to go on trial May 16. At the time of the killing, Royals was a U.S. Marine stationed at Camp LeJune, N.C., also known as, provides Volusia County 24 / 7 Internet newspaper coverage, 100% free with breaking news, news of record and investigative reports from New Smyrna Beach, FL, for a 21st-century digital world. 
Shane Burns murder indictment.pdf160.91 KB
Shane Burns arrest report.pdf334.22 KB

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-Orlando metro area via, launched April 7, 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with scores of regional, state & national journalism-industry awards for nearly 100 breaking news & investigative reporting stories in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut.
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