BEALETON, VA – 87-year-old George Parks was found beaten outside the flea market he owned. His daughter and two friends heard nothing until someone came in and told them something was wrong.
“And we got out there, the rescue people were already out there trying to work on him,” said Carol Shepherd. “And it was shock. pure shock. With people in the way, (Parks’ daughter) Ellen was to my left, my husband was to my right, and their view was being blocked from seeing Mr. Parks, and mine wasn’t. And you don’t ever want to see that.”
Shepherd says the suspect, 63-year-old Julian Burke, had just asked her moments before whether the flea market had any baseball bats. She told him she knew there were plastic bats, but she says Burke insisted he needed a real one. Moments later, Parks was dying on the ground outside the market.
“It was hard,” Shepherd said. “I saw what the guy had done to him. It hurt.”
Parks bought the flea market a few years ago and allowed it to remain a community landmark, next to a popular skating rink.
“He was around to help anyone,” said his daughter, Ellen Parks. “He greeted everyone who came in. When they came to the flea market he’d give the small kids a sucker as they came through the door. “
Fauquier County deputies arrested Julian Burke, who they say was a frequent customer at the flea market, and knew the victim. They say the motive may be a dispute over money. Burke is being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail, charged with murder.