"This was a horrible, violent crime," Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Raymond E. Milavsky said. "They wanted to eliminate him because they discovered a significant amount of money in his account."
Burns, then 62, was carjacked after work in the parking lot of his Mount Laurel office, and driven in his Mercedes to a nearby bank to withdraw money.
He was then driven back to his office, where one of the men got into another car. Both vehicles headed north on the turnpike.
About a mile and a half later, they pulled over, told Burns to run toward the woods, and shot him three times in the back before taking off in both cars.
Burns' car was found five miles away at a rest stop. He was robbed of $500, and his credit cards were later used to buy sneakers and clothes in New York.
Burns walked a half-mile along the turnpike before going down an embankment, scaling a five-foot-high chain-link fence, and seeking help at a pizza shop in a Church Road strip mall.
Thompson, also from Richmond, has not admitted guilt to the New Jersey charges. He was sentenced to a 20-year term in Virginia for his role in the same robberies for which Watts was convicted.
"We've got a solid case against him," said Milavsky, who hopes to extradite Thompson by the end of the year.
Contact staff writer Joel Bewley at 609-261-0900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.