Trial date set for man accused of killing Richmond Officer Seara Burton

RICHMOND — The trial date for the man accused of shooting and killing Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton earlier this year has been set.

Phillip Lee, 47, is set for trial on March 7, 2023, according to online court records.

Lee has been accused of shooting Officer Seara Burton, 28, on Aug. 10 during a traffic stop.

He’s facing murder, attempted murder and firearm and drug charges. Prosecutors previously filed paperwork seeking a death sentence for Lee if he is convicted.

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Officers from the Richmond Police Narcotics Unit working near the 400 block of North 17th Street on Aug. 10 when they spotted Lee, who they knew to be a drug offender, on motor scooter, according to an affidavit of probable cause. The officers saw Lee go down an alley and stop at a detached garage to talk with a person for a short period of time.

News Center 7 previously reported that due to the “observed high amount of traffic stopping at the detached garage,” members of the Narcotics Unit believed a drug transaction may have taken place and ordered a traffic stop on Lee.

The traffic stop took place in front of Lee’s apartment on N. 12th Street and a Richmond Police K9 officer was called to the scene, court records indicate. That officer was Seara Burton. Once on scene, Burton’s canine indicated the presence of narcotics in the scooter.

During the stop, police said Lee pulled out a handgun and fired multiple shots at Burton and Richmond Officer Austin Adams. The affidavit indicates Burton was shot once in the head and Adams “narrowly missed being shot in the head.”

Burton was flown to Miami Valley Hospital where she stayed for the next three weeks. She was taken off life support on Sept. 1 and was transferred to a hospice facility in Richmond on Sept. 3. She died from her injuries on Sept. 18.

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Lee then ran away from the scene. Shortly after that Lee and Richmond Police engaged in a “gunfight” as he tried to run into his apartment. He was shot and caught by police on the front porch of his apartment.

Indiana State Police investigated the scene and found the gun, a black Ruger Max 9 9mm, they say Lee used near his porch. Records show it had a 10 round magazine in it.

When investigating Lee’s scooter, seven syringes, two bags of what tested presumptively positive for methamphetamine, one bag of what tested presumptively positive for cocaine and one bag of what tested presumptively positive for heroin.

Lee was taken to Miami Valley Hospital for his injuries. He was released from the hospital on Sept.10 and was extradited back to Indiana a few days later.

Prior to his trial, Lee will have a pretrial conference on February 3, 2023.