PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — The man charged with first-degree murder in the 2020 fatal stabbing at a Pigeon Forge diner was found guilty Thursday following a short trial. He has been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Gabriel Turcios, 20, was convicted of the first-degree murder of 19-year-old Savannah Burford outside the Sunliner Diner in Pigeon Forge two years ago. The jury returned a guilty verdict just one day after the trial proceedings got underway.
Hours after the guilty verdict, Turcios was given his sentence.
Some of the evidence showcased during the trial included text messages between Turcios and Burford leading up to the fatal stabbing, which was captured on surveillance footage outside the Sunliner Diner where they both worked. Police bodycam footage of their interrogation of Turcios’ was also shown during the trial.
Medical examiners testified that Burford was stabbed 16 times.
According to a lawsuit filed by Burford’s family after her death, in the weeks leading up to her murder, Turcios had been aggressive toward her and exhibited stalking behavior.
The trial was originally set to begin last year but was postponed after the defense filed a notice that they would seek an insanity plea.