Cold Case 1996: Stabbed in the Heart

A Fort Worth father was stabbed in the heart, found slumped over in his car.

Was it a case of domestic violence?

Detectives are still asking that question more than 20 years later.

Gary Burley's murder remains unsolved.

Sherry and Renee Burley remember the church hymns they'd sing with their brother, Gary, fondly.

The sisters sat cross legged, hand in hand while they reminisced about the good times with their brother and then the worst time of their lives.

"Just looking through those trees, that's where we came from with the casket," said Gary's sister, Renee.

She shook her head in disbelief all these years later as she sat in the cemetery just steps from Gary's grave, a place where the father of three was buried at 27-years-old.

"It's just like it's a piece missing from your heart and I just wish that before I'm gone it'll be solved," said his sister, Sherry.

They have been hopeful since the day Gary was murdered.

It was a Saturday night in mid-May of 1996, Burley was on his way to visit his girlfriend.

He was driving a Honda Civic and was stopped at a red light on Cleburne Road when someone plunged a knife deep into his heart.

"From the trailing of the blood, it's like he had got [sic] out. They were at the light and they had a confrontation there," said his sister, Renee.

The confrontation soon turned deadly.

Detectives say Gary had been stabbed, was bleeding and fading in an out of consciousness, but that he managed to get back into the car.

Police say Burley drove off for help, but crashed into a tree almost immediately.  

"I'll be at the red light, I'm sitting there and I'll look around and think 'this is exactly where my brother was left to die,'" said Sherry.

Everyone thought they knew who did it, his sisters say one of Gary's ex-girlfriends. After all, it appeared to be very personal. His certificate of death read "stab wound of chest," "laceration of heart."

Fort Worth police say they didn't have enough evidence, the fingerprints didn't match and no knife was ever recovered.

A seemingly incomprehensible end for his sisters.

"The fact that we don't know what happened, that's what hurts so bad and you can keep just reliving it," said Renee. "I go back to it and it seems like time just stopped and I can just hear the birds chirping, they're saying 'why?'" she said.

Fort Worth police have been actively investigating the Burley case.

Anyone with information in the 1996 cold case should call 817-392-4307. 

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