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Burleson County man sentenced to 35 years for murdering man, admits to burying body

Michael McFarlane pled guilty to killing Zachary Rockwell.
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 5:22 PM CST
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CALDWELL, Tex. (KBTX) -A Burleson County man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after he admitted to killing a man from Arkansas last year and burying the body.

Michael McFarlane, 36, pleaded guilty back in September but the case concluded last week in Caldwell.

In May 2019 McFarlane shot Zachary Rockwell in the head, then buried his body near McFarlane’s house in the 1300 block of Tiger Trail.

It was a brutal scene discovered in the Cade Lake Neighborhood in July 2019 when investigators found the grave of Rockwell after he’d been reported missing.

Friends of Michael McFarlane said he shot Rockwell in the head after a dispute at his house.

The plea agreement obtained by KBTX also shows McFarlane pleaded guilty to two other felonies for tampering with physical evidence. Friends of McFarlane said he turned himself in after the missing persons report was filed.

Neighbors on Tuesday told KBTX that McFarlane was quiet and kept to himself. Several said he made the situation much worse by burying the body. The county attorney declined our interview request but sent this statement:

“The County Attorney’s office is proud of the hard work done on this case by several of our law enforcement agencies working together. Due to their efforts we were able to successfully prosecute the person responsible for the death of Zachary Rockwell,” said Susan Deski, Burleson County Attorney.

McFarlane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said Tuesday afternoon his client has taken responsibility for his actions and had also confessed to Texas Rangers.

Gray said the victim was staying with McFarlane under a living arrangement, but he’s not sure what the motive was for the killing. McFarlane will have to serve at least half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

As part of the plea agreement McFarlane will also get 15 days of credit for time already served in jail. The County Attorney tells us he never admitted to a motive.

We have our previous story on murder here.

Our report on him posting bond previously is here.

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