published : 2023-08-22

Escaped PA Kidnapping Suspect Michael Burham Faces Additional Charges

Judge Ruled Sufficient Evidence to Advance Both Escaping and Kidnapping Cases to Court of Common Pleas

A shocked and anxious elderly couple looking at a map, depicting their unexpected cross-country flight. Taken with a Nikon D850.

Facing a manhunt across two states last month after a daring escape from a northern Pennsylvania jail, Michael Burham, known for his ghastly deed, had charges piling up against him in both his escape and the original case which claimed that he kidnapped a couple, forcing them on an unwarranted cross-country adventure designed to avoid the clutches of law enforcement.

Tuesday's preliminary hearing saw District Judge Raymond Zydonik ruling to push both cases against Michael Burham to the Court of Common Pleas, backed up by ample evidence.

Burham, all of 34, has allegedly kidnapped an elderly couple in Pennsylvania while trying to duck from the encircling officers after a rape case was filed against him in New York, where he is also a person of interest in another murder case.

The unfortunate 68-year-old woman from Mead Township claimed that she and her 89-year-old husband were made to endure an 18-hour drive to South Carolina before being abandoned in a cemetery.

Burham presented an aerial photograph of the woman's home and informed her about his various supplies stashed nearby, purposefully picking the couple because they dwelt in isolation, were older, and didn't have a large dog for protection.

She attempted to probe his intentions, asking whether he planned to murder them, to which he responded, 'not if you cooperate'.

A close-up shot of a prison window with escape paraphernalia such as cut bars and a makeshift rope made of bed sheets. Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

However, when the same question was posed later, he refrained from a violent threat, implying that he was already juggling too many charges against him.

Burham, apprehended on May 24 in South Carolina, was slapped with a wide array of charges, including kidnapping, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, assault, terroristic threats, theft, burglary, and many other counts.

In addition to this, more counts of kidnapping were added by District Attorney Rob Greene on Monday, according to The (Warren) Times Observer.

Further charges await Burham, resulting from his infamous July 6 escape from the Warren County jail, which officials confirmed he executed using exercise equipment and a rope made from jail bedding, breaking through a window and scaling down to his freedom.

He was recaptured on July 15, owing to a vigilant dog alerting a couple to his presence on their property.

Deputy Attorney General Heather Serrano proposed another criminal conspiracy count, alleging that Burham 'conspired with another inmate' during the escape, a notion contested unsuccessfully by Public Defender Kord Kinney.

A silhouette of a figure hiding in a rural setting at night, signifying the fugitive on the run. Taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

The manhunt sparked a huge response, constructing an army of over 200 state, federal and local officers, with a bounty of up to $22,000 offered for information leading to his recapture. Meanwhile, residents were urged to regularly review surveillance footage and secure their properties and vehicles.

District Attorney Rob Greene has asked the state attorney general's office to manage the escape case, alluding to potential implications involving county jail inmates, staff, and possibly others, based on evidence unearthed by the Warren city police's investigations.

Burham now awaits his fate under the watchful eyes of the Erie County Prison authorities.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the state line, District Attorney Jason Schmidt of Chautauqua County, New York, identified Burham as the prime suspect in a confirmed murder and related arson case in Jamestown.