WARREN, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office confirmed to Your Daily Local that it has accepted the referral from Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene to “assume jurisdiction” into the escape charges against Michael Burham.
During a press conference outside the Ecklund residence on July 18, Greene said he made the request to Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry in order to avoid any conflict of interest.
“I have asked the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to assume jurisdiction and prosecution of Mr. Burham for the escape and to charge and prosecute any other individuals who may have been involved or negligent in regards to Mr. Burham’s escape,” Greene said. “This does a number of things, but No. 1 it’s going to show no impropriety. Because Warren County is a small town and being the DA and knowing most of the jail personnel, I have made that decision, and I think it would be appropriate.”
Watch Greene’s media conference
In an email to Your Daily Local, Brett Hambright, Press Secretary for Henry, confirmed that the request was received and accepted.
“We have received a referral from the Warren County District Attorney’s Office regarding the escape case against Michael Burnham,” Hambright said. “We have accepted this referral and intend to do a thorough investigation of the matter.”
Greene said his office will continue to prosecute the kidnapping charges against Burham from May when a Warren County couple was allegedly taken against their will by Burham to South Carolina as he eluded authorities from New York and Pennsylvania who were looking at him as a person of interest in the death of Kala Hodgkin.
The kidnapping charge was the charge Burham was being held on when he escaped the Warren County Jail through the roof in the jail “yard” and used a rope out of the bedsheets to climb down from the roof late on July 6.
The search for Burham lasted nearly 10 days and included 15 different law enforcement agencies and 200 officers.
Ron and Cindy Ecklund called in the tip that led to Burham’s apprehension with assistance from their dog, Tucker.
Burham was arraigned on July 17, via video from the Erie (Pa.) County Jail with counsel present. He is being held at the Erie Jail after his recapture. Bail for the kidnapping charges, which had been set at $1 million, was revoked and bail on the escape charges was denied.
Warren County Public Defender Kord Kinney is currently representing Burham. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Aug. 21.