District tattoo artist faces 8 years in prison for fatal shooting of husband

Kristin Kozak said she feared her husband was going for a weapon during an argument.
Kristin Kozak said she feared her husband was going for a weapon during an argument. (Family Photo)
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By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A popular District tattoo artist faces eight years in prison in connection with the 2009 shooting death of her husband, authorities said.

Kristin Kozak, 38, pled guilty Friday to one count of voluntary manslaughter while armed, according to officials within the U.S. attorney's office for the District.

Kozak and her husband, Michael Burnette, 56, owned the Liquidity Jones Tattoo and Piercing shop in Southeast Washington. They lived in an apartment above the shop.

Kozak admitted to shooting Burnette and, in a videotaped interview, said they argued minutes before the Aug. 10 shooting, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Cobb said. After the argument, Kozak told police, Burnette went to a bedroom dresser. She said she thought he was going to retrieve a weapon; he did not have one when he was shot, although knives were found in a drawer.

Kozak had told police Burnette had abused her. An autopsy showed that Burnette had cocaine in his blood at the time of the shooting.

In 2005, Kozak and a previous boyfriend spent a week smoking crack in an Alexandria motel with a prominent Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer, Eric N. Miller, before the boyfriend beat Miller to death with a lead pipe. The boyfriend, Dana E. Moro, was sentenced to 33 years in prison in the beating. Kozak was ordered into drug rehabilitation, where she met Burnette in 2008. The two were married a year later.

Kozak is scheduled to be sentenced June 25.

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