Man to Spend Decades Behind Bars for Stabbing Mother 15 Times

Joseph Burks killed his mother after being asked to move out and get a job, his grandmother said

More than a year after the brutal killing of a popular high school science teacher, the woman's son was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. 

Joseph Robert Burks, 31, was convicted of first-degree murder after he stabbed his mother 15 times in the neck at their Clairemont home in July 2017.

Burks killed his mother after he was asked to move out of the family home and get a job, according to his grandmother.


Prosecutors said Burks used a stun gun to render his mother defenseless and then stabbed her and watched his mother die before calling 911.

Video at the scene from an officer's body-body camera shows Burks coming out with his hands up. 

He initially told police his mother had attacked him and he had to defend himself.

Angela Burks, 58, taught science at Otay Ranch High School since the school opened in 2003. 

"She worked so hard to get where she was," Burks' mother Josephine Van Atta said at Friday's sentencing hearing. "Joseph put an end to all that."


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