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Man sentenced to 40 years in prison after burying girlfriend at her parents backyard in Clay County

Man sentenced to 40 years in prison after burying girlfriend at her parents backyard in Clay County

  • PublishedMay 23, 2024

Aubrey Lumpkin pleaded guilty on manslaughter and evidence tampering charges on April 1, stemming from 2022 when he took an elderly couple hostage.

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. — A Clay County man authorities say buried his girlfriend in the backyard of an elderly couple, which he held captive for two days in their home in 2022, was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday.

A police report said Aubrey Lumpkin, now 48, got into an altercation with his girlfriend in September of 2020, who later died as a result. In 2022, the police report stated that Lumpkin confessed to burying her in the backyard of an elderly couple he took captive for two days. The couple was rescued by deputies after Lumpkin called 911 and turned himself in. 

Lumpkin pleaded guilty to evidence tampering, home invasion with a deadly weapon, kidnapping with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and manslaughter on April 1, 2024. The sentences will run concurrently. According to sentencing guidelines he faced anywhere between 20 and 50 years in prison. 

The victims of attack told the court Thursday they were the parents of the woman. Lumpkin and another person pressed the couple for financial information and injured them. The victim said she said still has pain in her hands and has to use a cane.

Lumpkin told them their daughter was missing. Deputies said Lumpkin also confessed to taking on the identity of the victim following her death via text and social media communications with her parents to extract money from them in the form of money wiring.

“He knew her so well he could message just like her,” the victim said.

The defense read a statement from Lumpkin’s daughter. She recalled Lumpkin assisting her during a difficult time after they were reunited and spoke to his. She said he made terrible decisions and asked the judge to show mercy.

Lumpkin later took the stand. He said he was addicted to cocaine, that he let several people down and he expected to spend a long time in prison. 

“As for this court, may they have mercy on my soul,” Lumpkin said.

The defense cited Lumpkin’s remorse in calling 911 as an important factor in the sentencing without providing excuses for his behavior. The prosecution said the crime took planning and a series of “heinous choices” made by Lumpkin.

“What he did to 70- and 71-year-old victims is unconscionable,” Prosecutor Ashley Terry, who asked for the full 50-year sentence, asserted. ” … His actions brought us here.”

Deputies arrived at a home on County Road 315 in Green Cove Springs, where they found two victims bound with duct tape on their arms, legs and faces. The couple was extremely dehydrated, malnourished and suffering from infections, the report said. Investigators Thursday called their conditions “deplorable.”

Friday, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office released the 911 call. Lumpkin told the dispatcher “I’m a piece of sh**. I need medical attention out here for this elderly couple. I’m turning myself in.”

Detectives found the remains of the unidentified victim on April 15. Her family chose not to release her identity.

During the interview process at the Orange Park Substation in 2022, the police report said Lumpkin told them he had been in a physical altercation with the victim approximately two years ago before the hostage situation. He reportedly told deputies struck the victim multiple times in the face and head, causing her to fall hard to the floor.

Lumpkin was unsuccessful at resuscitating her and he told deputies he dragged the woman approximately 100 yards into the woods behind the residence, where he buried her. The defendant never notified emergency personnel or law enforcement of her death, deputies say.

According to the couple’s family members, Lumpkin used to live in a different home on the property with one of the couple’s daughters.

The couple’s granddaughter said she received texts from her grandmother’s phone. Her grandmother told her from the hospital the texts were sent by Lumpkin. Her grandmother said Lumpkin asked for her granddaughter’s bank account information as well.

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