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-New Smyrna Beach / Sanford-Orlando metropolitan region via Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as and Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Headline Surfer® Publisher Henry Frederick, is recognized as one of Florida's top award-winning cops & courts reporters, who has received more awards for such coverage than any other reporter working in Central Florida. He's the top journalist in the Florida Press Club two years running with seven journalism awards for 15 breaking news and investigative stories, three blogs and top internet site. He's the only reporter to win awards for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying as well as the subsequent George Zimmerman murder trial acquittal in Sanford. He's also won state, regional and national journalism awards for his coverage of cops and courts fear 8 1/2 years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, where he witnessed and reported on the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos and covered the civil trial brought by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt's widow to keep his autopsy files sealed. Before that before he covered cops & courts for Gannett Suburban Newspapers / The Journal News in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, where he won a highly-coveted Associated Press Award for breaking news. Before launching the 24/7 internet newspaper in 2008, he was an award-winning city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette, in his native Massachusetts for two years, winning a national investigative award on municipal corruption. The first of Frederick's three books, for which he has secured publishing rights, is called "Creepy Ass Cracker" (840 pages, Xlibris), which will hit bookstores in September. His second book, "Wrestling ReWind," is expected to be published in January 2015. The third book is not yet titled.
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