Anderson pleads not guilty to murder charge

Published 11:38 am Friday, March 25, 2016

The man charged with selling heroin to a 23-year-old man who died of an alleged overdose last December has pleaded not guilty.



Ryan Allen Anderson, 23, of Austin was charged with third-degree murder on March 14. He’s accused of selling heroin to Tyler Burkey, 23, before he died of an overdose.

He also pleaded not guilty in a separate case to felony fifth-degree drug possession and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia for possessing drug paraphernalia in a room of an in-home daycare. In a third case, he was charged Feb. 26 with seven counts of drug sales, including one in a school zone and one of three grams or more of cocaine, heroin or meth and he pleaded not guilty to those charges.

In the third-degree murder case, Austin police responded to the 700 block of 11th Avenue Southwest to a 23-year-old found unconscious in a bathroom on Dec. 18, 2015, according to the court complaint.

Officers found Tyler Burkey, of Austin, lying unresponsive on the floor, partially in the hallway and the bathroom, where family members had moved him in an attempt to revive him.

Emergency personnel could not revive Burkey, who was pronounced dead. A Mayo Clinic autopsy revealed the cause was a heroin overdose.

The family members told officers they found him unconscious in the bathroom with a hypodermic needle near his feet and signs he had used drugs.

Officers also collected several more items from the bathroom and his bedroom consistent with drug use as well as Burkey’s cell phone.

Text messages on Dec. 17, 2015, revealed he was looking to buy heroin and negotiated a purchase with Anderson, according to the court complaint.

According to the complaint, Anderson visited Burkey’s house on Dec. 17, 2015, and met with him later that night at a different Austin house, which has been associated with heroin activity. Officers later found Anderson’s pattern would be to receive money first and then return later with the drugs, requiring two meetings between seller and buyer, according to the complaint.

Burkey had also texted another alleged drug dealer about no longer needing drugs and no other drug-related texts were on his phone after meeting with Anderson.

Family members told officers he left the residence at times consistent with text messages to Anderson. He then returned home for the rest of the night and watched TV before reportedly waking at some point early on Dec. 18 and using the drugs in the bathroom.

When Anderson was arrested earlier this month for possessing heroin paraphernalia in the in-home daycare, he denied any involvement with Burkey. Officers confirmed Anderson’s cell phone number matched the one listed in the victim’s phone.

Anderson then agreed he “probably” picked up money from Burkey the night of Dec. 17, 2015, and also claimed another heroin dealer left the house later that night and provided Burkey with heroin.

Officers interviewed others who knew Burkey’s heroin habits, which showed the amount of heroin allegedly purchased from Anderson would have lasted through the time of his death, with no need to purchase more, according to court records.

Officers showed Anderson the messages on Burkey’s phone with the other dealer, which indicated no transaction occurred, and then he admitted to meeting Burkey outside and delivering the heroin.

The investigation is still ongoing. Court records did not specify Anderson’s next appearance.