December 6, 2013
Nearly five years after the body of Valerie Ann Burns was found in the trunk of her burning car in Leland, Carl Henry Alston is going on trial in Bolivia for her killing.
Jury selection begins Monday in Brunswick County Superior Court in the capital murder trial of Alston, 39. The convicted felon faces the death penalty in the kidnapping, rape and killing of Burns, a 49-year-old mother of two from Leland who was last seen alive July 29, 2008, in Wilmington.
According to police reports, firefighters found Burns’ remains in the trunk of her car July 30, 2008, off Goodland Road near Leland, some 10 miles from Burns’ Bluff Drive home where she lived alone. An autopsy revealed she died from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the smoke generated by the fire. She was last seen the previous day in Wilmington.
Police have not said what the connection is between Alston and Burns. On Sept. 4, 2008, he was arrested and charged with her murder.
N.C. Department of Correction records indicate he was released from prison June 22, 2008, just a little more than four weeks before Burns’ death. He was serving time for possession of schedule II drugs, according to the conviction record.
Alston also has served time in prison or received probation for charges that include assault on a female, vehicle burglary, larceny, possessing stolen goods, driving while license revoked, selling schedule II drugs and receiving stolen goods.