Lexington man shot, killed woman because she was feeding feral cats at shopping center

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Lexington, SC –  Lexington Police Chief Terrence Green reported an arrest made in the shooting death that occurred on Thursday, December 3, 2020, that Lexington Police Department, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, and the Lexington County Coroner’s Office have been investigating.

At approximately 5:40 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 700 block of West Main Street for a shooting that had just occurred. Officers found Judy Dyanne Burnett, age 72 of Gilbert, near the fence line behind the Town Square shopping center with a gunshot wound to the face. Officers immediately began rendering aid until Lexington County EMS arrived. Judy Burnett died while being transported to the hospital.

Officers found Sean Eric Malahy, age 49 of Lexington, at the scene and in possession of a handgun. He was taken into custody, declining to make a statement to detectives, and he was transported to the Lexington County Detention Center.


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Prior to the shooting incident, Judy Burnett had gotten into an argument about feeding feral cats with a witness who was with Sean Malahy. Sean Malahy engaged in an argument with Judy Burnett which turned into a physical fight. During this altercation, Sean Malahy shot Judy Burnett.

Through the investigation, it was found that Judy Burnett and Sean Malahy had known each other for a number of years and that they had ongoing disagreements about their own involvement in the feeding, trapping, and releasing of feral cats that are known to live behind businesses in the wood along West Main Street.

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Sean Malahy has been charged with Murder and Possession of a Weapon During a Violent Crime. He is at the Lexington County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing that will be held on Friday, December 4, 2020, at 3:00 p.m.


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