Man gets life sentence for murder of pregnant LaGrange woman

Breanna Burgess was fatally stabbed in the throat in 2022. She was pregnant at the time.

Breanna Burgess was fatally stabbed in the throat in 2022. She was pregnant at the time.

A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to the 2022 murder of a LaGrange woman who was 20 weeks pregnant.

Curteze Avery, 30, of Lafayette, Alabama, pleaded to murder and feticide as part of a negotiated deal and was sentenced to life in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2052, Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herb Cranford said in a statement. Avery has been held in the Troup County Jail without bond since his arrest in July 2022.

A second suspect in the killing, Shallandra Freeman, was arrested alongside Avery, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. She was released on $60,000 bond a little more than three months after her arrest. Last year, state prosecutors opted not to indict Freeman, clearing her of all charges.

Avery murdered 26-year-old Breanna Burgess, who was found by two LaGrange police officers on a routine patrol. She had been stabbed in the throat at least 14 times, Cranford said. Burgess and her unborn baby were pronounced dead at the scene. According to her obituary, she is survived by three children.

Curteze Avery, 30, pleaded guilty to the murder of pregnant LaGrange woman Breanna Burgess.

Credit: Troup County Sheriff's Office

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Credit: Troup County Sheriff's Office

Soon after the body was found, detectives accessed her phone records and reached a friend who said Burgess was last seen with Avery in his neon-green Chevrolet Camaro, Cranford said. Detectives found footage of the Camaro going to and from the murder scene. The vehicle was then located at a home in LaGrange just a few hours after Burgess’ body was discovered.

Investigators secured a search warrant and found blood on the car’s exterior and interior, Cranford said. Police entered the house, where they found Avery attempting to hide. They discovered more blood inside the house, as well as blood on clothing in the washer and dryer. A DNA analysis by the GBI Crime Lab matched the blood to Burgess.

Dating from his arrest in July 2022, Avery will spend at least 30 years in confinement before becoming eligible for parole.

“While the family of Ms. Burgess will never fully heal from this senseless crime, the District Attorney’s Office is relieved to have obtained a life sentence without the family experiencing the difficulty and uncertainty of a jury trial,” Cranford said.