Police: Suspect talked of death details cops never released


David Anthony Burns (Photo courtesy Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office)

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — A man accused of killing a 19-year-old Louisiana woman in 2004 and dumping her body in Texas told people details that police never made public, a detective says.

Alexandria Police Detective Tanner Dryden told a judge that David Anthony Burns, 45, of Boyce, mentioned such details to two or three people, The Town Talk reported.

Courtney Coco Senior Picture (Photo courtesy NBC News)

Burns, who was arrested April 13, is charged with the second-degree murder of Courtney Coco of Alexandria during a robbery or attempted robbery on Oct. 3, 2004.

The 2003 Alexandria High School graduate’s body was found the next day in an abandoned building in Winnie, Texas, about 150 miles (241 kilometers) southwest of Alexandria. At the time of her death, Coco was a criminal justice major at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

Dryden said a comforter was among items missing from Coco’s home in Alexandria, and Burns told others that he smothered Coco with a pillow and wrapped her body in a comforter.

Dryden testified Monday at a bond hearing for Burns, who was indicted and arrested two months ago. Judge Mary Lauve Doggett rejected a defense request to cut bond from $500,000 to $50,000.

Courtney Coco Alexandria High
(Photo courtesy NBC News)

Dryden, Monday’s only witness, said Burns was developed as a suspect in 2011 but investigators didn’t have enough evidence to present to a grand jury until several people told police about Burns’ alleged statements.

Defense attorney Christopher LaCour asked Dryden about DNA reportedly found on the trunk. Dryden said detectives found DNA from Coco and an unknown male, but at the time couldn’t make a match.

He said he was getting a warrant for Burns’ DNA, but the sample was so tiny that he had been told it would be difficult to match.

Investigators believe Coco was killed in her home, where a safe was broken into, Dryden said.

A pretrial conference is scheduled Aug. 11.

In October, NBC’s Dateline did a story on Courtney Coco and her disappearance.

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