$1M sought in Marietta student’s 2008 murder at Auburn University
by From combined reports
January 23, 2014 11:30 PM | 4606 views | 5 5 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauren Burk
Lauren Burk
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 Courtney Lockhart
Courtney Lockhart
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MARIETTA — The parents of a slain Auburn University student from east Cobb’s Walton High School said they’ve filed an official claim against the university.

Lauren Burk’s parents say they believe she might still be alive if Auburn had a campus police department. Burk was abducted from a campus parking lot and killed in March 2008. Courtney Lockhart was convicted in her murder and was sentenced to death. Burk was 18 at the time and Lockhart, who had been dishonorably discharged from the Army, was 23. Lockhart is now on death row.

“It’s like it happened yesterday,” Jim Burk said of his daughter’s death. “There’s not a day that goes by that my family doesn’t have her close in our mind and heart.”

“Losing a child is like carrying stones in your pocket at all times,” said Lauren Burk’s mother, Viviane Guerschon. “You get used to the weight, but the weight is always there.”

Police said Lockhart abducted Burk from a parking lot outside an Auburn dorm during a bungled robbery attempt. He forced her to take off her clothes and drove around, investigators said. Lockhart shot Burk in the chest as she tried to escape by jumping from the moving car, police said. She was pronounced dead later after being found on the side of the road.

Phenix City police arrested Lockhart a few days later.

Burk’s parents said they think the presence of campus police officers could have prevented the crime. Auburn shuttered its police department several years before the killing to save money. Auburn city police patrol the campus. Burk’s parents also said they believe Auburn didn’t follow security recommendations in a federal report.

Auburn cannot be sued because of sovereign immunity laws, WSB-TV reports. The Burk family says it has filed a claim against the school with the state’s Board of Adjustment. The board can consider the claim and use state money to compensate cases that it feels have merit. The family’s claim asks for $1 million, but Burk’s father said it’s not just about money.

“It’s kind of a moral claim, and I want them to be judged by public opinion,” he said. “My concern is to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

A spokesman for the university said the university doesn’t comment on pending investigations.

Comments
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Giovanni Duluth
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January 24, 2014
That is just terrible that the school does not have a police department, or probably even any security.

Auburn University ($472 million Endowment) has over 25,000 students and 1,200 staff members. The school is huge, they have a football team and are very well known. Come on...

I go to a much smaller state university (less than $1.5 million Endowment) with less than 7,200 students and we have a university police department with at least five or six officers. My professor was saying that the chief of police used to be an FBI agent. It is good to know that the school takes security seriously.

We will never know for certain if having police would of prevented the terrible tragedy from happening, but prevention makes a huge difference. Police presence, having blue towers with flashing lights and a phone to call for an emergency can help prevent things like this from happening.

Just Wait
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January 24, 2014
"I don't want this to happen to anybody else." And to make sure, I want $1 million. If you really cared, either you wouldn't ask for money or include in the suit that any money granted would go toward the creation of a campus PD. Be honest.
West Cobber
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January 24, 2014
Couldn't get thru the article without crying. What a senseless loss and the pain inflicted upon the family is unbearable.
Cobb Visitor
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January 23, 2014
Even KSU has a campus police department - Did I read that the poor victim was kidnapped from a Auburn Dormitory Parking Lot - do they even have blue-lighs like KSU ?

Shameful !
KSU Mom
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January 23, 2014
Why would say "Even KSU….." - snob.
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