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Woman who fatally shot relative in Tierrasanta sentenced to 50 years to life

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Posted at 10:48 AM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 14:58:34-04

SAN DIEGO - A woman who fatally shot her 74-year-old great-aunt in her Tierrasanta home more than five years ago was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison Wednesday at the downtown courthouse.

Tiffany Nicole Burney, 28, was convicted of first-degree murder in the Dec. 14, 2011, death of Daisy Mae Hayes. A different jury found the defendant was sane at the time of the murder.

10News' Mary McKenzie was present during the hearing:

Deputy Public Defender Kevin Haughton said Burney was delusional and in a psychotic state when she shot Hayes, who was like a second grandmother to her.

Haughton said Burney -- who was diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia -- started hearing voices at age 11 and was first hospitalized for mental illness when she was 13.

But Deputy District Attorney Marisa Di Tillio said Burney was angry that she didn't measure up to the rest of the family and decided to take it out on Hayes, who was considered the "heart" of the family.

Burney showed up at the victim's door sometime after 3 a.m. and asked to use the bathroom, Di Tillio said.

As Hayes waited on a couch, Burney emerged from the bathroom with a gun drawn and shot her four times in the face.

Burney fled the scene and called police a few days later after checking into a hospital.

The defendant confessed to the killing and told police she was angry because "everyone was winning and I was losing," according to Di Tillio.