- Associated Press - Monday, May 9, 2016

WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) - Detectives are investigating the killing of a former Miami-Dade County commissioner during what police describe as a domestic dispute at a home in south Georgia.

Paramedics and firefighters forced open the door to a locked room and found James “Jimmy” C. Burke, 68, with gunshot wounds, Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said.

Burke’s wife, Sonia Burke, had called 911 Saturday afternoon, saying her husband was having trouble breathing, Tanner said.

Arriving police officers found the wife sitting on a couch and she directed them to the locked room, Tanner told The Florida Times-Union (bit.ly/1T6AaZo).

Sonia Burke, 58, was arrested on a murder charge, the chief said. Paramedics took her to Mayo Clinic Health System’s Waycross hospital for treatment for a possible overdose, Tanner said. It wasn’t known early Monday whether she has a lawyer who could be contacted for comment.

Burke and his wife “were having problems,” his brother, James J. Burke, told The Miami Herald (hrld.us/1NnJrKr).

James C. Burke was a former Miami-Dade County commissioner who was sentenced to 27 months in prison for accepting bribes in the late 1990s, the Herald reported.

Burke was first elected to the Miami-Dade County Commission in 1993 after serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He was caught in a public corruption scandal in the late 1990s, charged with bribery and money laundering and removed from office. He went back to Waycross - the south Georgia town where he was born and raised - around 2007, the Miami newspaper reported.

“Jimmy Burke had the biggest heart of anybody I’ve ever known,” said Joel Maxwell, former city of Miami deputy city attorney, who knew Jimmie Burke for 40 years. “He was my friend and he was loyal. He made some missteps, but his heart was always in the right place. Everyone who knew him could attest to that.”



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