The couple’s son has been charged with capital murder, police confirmed to PEOPLE
Texas officials are investigating the double-homicide of former district judge Burt Carnes and his wife, Susan Carnes.
On Tuesday, the couple’s 45‐year‐old son, Seth B. Carnes, was taken into custody and transported to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, PEOPLE confirmed. He has been charged with capital murder, and is currently being held without bond.
According to a press release from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a shooting around 11:45 p.m. on Monday at a residence near Georgetown, Texas.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they encountered Seth “exiting the residence,” per the release.
“Seth Carnes confessed to the deputies that he had just shot and killed his mother and father,” the press release states.
Both victims were 74 years old and located inside of the residence. “The preliminary investigation suggests that the murders resulted from a disagreement, escalating into family violence and death,” the release reads.
The sheriff’s office added that there is no threat to public safety at this time. The investigation is ongoing. It is unclear if Seth has retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.
“This deeply distressing incident has sent shockwaves through our community, particularly considering Alfred ‘Burt’ Carnes’ esteemed position as a retired District Judge,” Commander John Foster of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division said in the release. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family affected by this heartbreaking event.”
Before becoming a judge, Carnes came from a family filled with law enforcement officials — including his father, who was an FBI agent, and other relatives such as a Texas Ranger, a Border Patrol agent and a Wilson County sheriff.
When he retired after serving 24 years as a judge in October 2013, he reflected on his career with the Austin American-Statesman.
“Early on, I decided that I was going to be a judge, not a politician,” he said during the interview. “You’ve got to follow the law and within the bounds of the law, do what you think is right.”
Texas representative John Carter praised Carnes’ decades of contributions at that time.
“Judge Carnes was an exemplary judge — hardworking, fair and a judge/lawyer who knew the law,” Carter told the outlet via email at the time. “Whenever I wanted to talk out an issue with anyone, Judge Carnes was my first choice because he was a smart lawyer and a smart judge.”
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