Man Who Killed 11-Year-Old Turkey Hunter Charged with Capital Murder

Back in May of this year tragedy struck an Alabama family after an 11-year-old boy was killed while hunting turkey with his father. The man who pulled the trigger was initially charged with reckless manslaughter, but those charges have been upgraded to capital murder of a person under the age of 14 after a hearing on 10 December 2020.

Troy Ellis age 11

According to, on 2 May 2020, Troy Ellis was hunting with his father, Obed Ellis, during a veterans hunt put on by America’s Heroes Enjoying Recreation Outdoors. During the hunt Joshua Stewart Burks, a Marine Veteran who was taking part in the event shot and killed Troy and injured Obed. This was the first time Burks had ever been hunting.

After the incident Troy’s family file a wrongful death suit against both Burks and Kyle Eugene Henley, who acts as a guide for the nonprofit hunting organization during the hunt. The suit claims that Burks was numerous pain pills the night before, and the morning of, the hunt and was “likely not capable of safely handling a firearm and certainly was not capable of making appropriate decisions with regard to handling a weapon.”

The civil case was settled in October, but the criminal case progressed and on 10 December 2020 a Grand Jury decided to upgrade Burks charges from reckless manslaughter to Capitol Murder.

Burks was booked into jail soon after the charges were filed but has since been released on $60,000 bond. He was currently already released on a $15,000 bond from the original charges.

Burks lawyer, Tommy Spina, does not believe the charges reflect what happened that day and released the following statement.

“We are disappointed the grand jury saw the case differently than the magistrate and the district attorney’s office that originally charged the case as manslaughter,’’ Spina said. “The events that occurred that day were devastating on many levels and our sympathies are with the family of the young man that lost his life in what we believe was a tragic hunting accident.”

Incidents like this are hard on a family. It has been over six months and they are still dealing with the ramifications of a misguided shot. Please keep the family in your prayers as they continue to deal with everything tht happened.