Michael Burham (right) is escorted into the Jackson Courtroom at the Warren County Courthouse on Aug. 21. File photo by Andy Close.

Burham Pleads Guilty to Escape, Kidnapping Charges

November 9, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – Michael C. Burham, the man who escaped from the Warren County Jail and subsequently led authorities on a nearly 10-day manhunt, pleaded guilty to escape and kidnapping charges on Thursday after originally entering a not-guilty plea.

Burham, 34 of Ashville, N.Y., pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats, theft and burglary during his appearance at the Warren County Courthouse. He also pleaded guilty to one count of escape.

Sentencing is slated for Jan. 5, 2024.

Burham initially entered not guilty pleas during his formal arraignment in September.

With Burham’s guilty pleas entered, the following charges will not be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office: five counts of kidnapping, two counts each of unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment, disorderly conduct, theft and criminal trespass as well as single counts of possession of an instrument of crime with intent, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, criminal trespass and loitering and prowling at night time.

“It consolidates the charges and hits all the things that Mr. Burham actually did,” said Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene.

The kidnapping charges stem from Burham kidnapping a Sheffield couple on May 20 and drove them to the Charleston, S.C., area where he left them in a cemetery. Authorities captured Burham in South Carolina, on May 24. Burham initially entered the area in while being sought by the Jamestown, N.Y. police in connection with a homicide and vehicle fire in that city.

After being captured in South Carolina, he was brought back to Warren County and arraigned on two counts each of kidnapping and aggravated assault, and individual counts of burglary, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, and criminal trespass on June 19.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on July 6, Burham escaped from the Warren County Jail, reportedly climbing through the roof of the jail yard and using a rope made from bedsheets to descend to the ground.

After nine days on the run, authorities captured Burham in the vicinity of Jackson Run Road and Logan Road in North Warren around 5:50 p.m. Saturday, July 15.

Burham is currently being held in the Erie County Prison.

(This story has been updated to include charges being dropped in exchange for the guilty pleas.)


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