Katherine Sinclair was 23-years-old on the night of June 1 when she was found seated in a car in her boyfriend's garage with a bullet hole in her head.
Shortly after EMTs arrived, they pulled Sinclair from the front seat of her Honda Accord onto the garage's concrete floor and worked to keep the young woman alive. However, they could not save her life, she died the following day.
Sinclair had been shot in the right side of the head, the bullet shattering the rear window on the driver's side. Her boyfriend, Greg Burroughs, said Sinclair shot herself. That determination will be made by the prosecutors after the test results.
"I can’t even call it a murder at this point. It’s a death investigation, but I’m smart enough to know what I’m looking at," said Jones County District Attorney Tony Buckley. "I know what the issue is. It’s a suspicious death investigation."
Sinclair and Burroughs had gone out to dinner in Laurel, earlier that evening. The two returned to Burroughs' home in the affluent Windermere neighborhood just outside the Laurel city limits. Buckley revealed that the shooting happened between 8:40 and 8:58 p.m.
Shortly before calling 911, Burroughs called Municipal Court Judge Kyle Robertson, a family friend and Sinclair's uncle. Robertson told Burroughs to hang up and call 911.
Having called 911, Burroughs met EMTs at the end of his driveway, flagging them down. Officers with the Laurel Police Department arrived on scene, their body cameras turned on. Sinclair was transported to the hospital and her car towed for evidence.
The 38-year-old Burroughs was taken in for questioning as a person of interest. Burroughs would not comment, he directed all his questions to his attorney.
"He's not admitted (to shooting her). The gun's not in his hand; it's in her hand," Buckley said. "I’m familiar with what the issues are in 'x' column; I'm familiar with what the issues are in the 'y' column. I have an ethical obligation to look at both sides and wait on test results."
Shortly after Burroughs was taken in for questioning, his family cleaned the garage. Police on the scene reportedly gave them permission.
Buckley would not comment about the scene, saying only that "the focus of the investigation is the interior of the Honda."
Buckley said there has been public pressure to make an arrest. He pushed back on that, however, saying he would not issue an arrest warrant for anyone until the investigation was complete.
"A surgeon wouldn’t perform surgery the next day unless they’ve got the result of the scans and blood work, and we can’t issue an arrest warrant (without all the facts)," he said. "That information is being gathered, and I would ask people to respect the investigation and give us time to perform it thoroughly.
"… Katherine Sinclair deserves a full and complete investigation, absolutely she does."
Buckley refers to Burroughs as a "person of interest."
"If she didn’t commit suicide, then obviously he’s a suspect, yeah, but that’s the issue in the case," he said. "Again, when you don’t have an admission, and you have a single gunshot wound to the head and — I can’t give other information out — it comes down to science. I don’t have a neutral eyewitness, and I don’t have it on film."
In the next two months, Buckley said he will provide a grand jury with a copy of the autopsy, a toxicology report, a pathology report, police body camera footage, a copy and transcript of the 911 call, video of Burroughs' interview at the police station and the results of gunshot residue tests.
The National Rifle Association describes that make of handgun as a "modern pocket pistol" that is "slim, trim and snag-free" with a "trigger pull of around 6 lbs."
The gun was a gift to Sinclair from her father on May 19, her 23rd birthday. Despite being predominately left handed, Sinclair also could shoot with her right hand, Herrington said.