Willie Burks stabbed to death in Little Rock in 1991

    11:15 PM, Feb 2, 2011   |    comments
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    • Officer Bruce Jones, LRPD
    • Bryan Burks, Willie's son

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) --It's been 19 years since Willie Burks was stabbed to death in Little Rock. Burks was found unresponsive in his cab. He was a 24 year veteran driver for the Black and White Cab Company.

    The 64-year-old, a father of five, was a man striving to make an honest living.

    His son Bryan Burks says, "A lot of people loved him.

    The streets of Little Rock were his work. He knew them well and his customers came from all walks of life.

    Bryan says safety wasn't a concern but he still carried a weapon.

    He explains, "Many people carry or have guns in their home. It's not that they are afraid; it's just that they wanna be prepared in case."

    But Little Rock Officer Bruce Jones says on Dec. 1, 1991, it didn't help.

    Jones says, "He was stabbed approximately 27 times. You never know what is in a person's mind that would commit a crime like this."

    Detectives believe the suspect called a cab from Arkansas Children's Hospital to bring him to Valmar Street. Within 20 minutes of that phone call police say Burks was attacked.

    Police at first believed robbery was the motive, but the killer took nothing from the cab. However, staff at the hospital were able give police some leads.

    "We actually had some people some witnesses that saw this individual," says Jones. "He's never been identified but they did see him. So we do have something to work on."

    They developed several suspects, but never an arrest. It's an open case gone cold.

    "I think it brought attention just how easy it is that cab drivers are susceptible to whoever they pick up," says Bryan.

    Burks' children are now grown. He has grandchildren he's never met. Today, he'd be 83.

    Bryan says, "Time does heal."

    Time, there's been lots of it, 19 years.

    Bryan adds, "He was a person and he deserved to live just as anyone else did."

    So he keeps hanging onto that glimmer of hope. It's his faith that keeps him going.

    Meanwhile, Burks' message is not just for his family, but to others also still waiting for justice.

    He explains, "The time that you did have with that person, you cherish that. You reflect but you move on as well."

    Burks' murder was one of 46 in Little Rock in 1991. Including Burks, four are still unsolved.

    If you know any information about this murder, call the Little Rock Police Department at 501-371-4636. You can remain anonymous.

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