Charges Against Burham Expected To Be Filed Soon

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MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) – Jamestown Felon Michael Burham led police on yet another manhunt after escaping from Warren County Jail earlier this month. Now, Burham is being held in Erie County Prison to face charges in Pennsylvania while officials in New York State are still collecting evidence.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt met with WNY News Now to discuss the delicate process of filing charges, and give a breakdown of what the future of the case looks like.    

“We had coordinated with Pennsylvania so that they would go first so that Mr. Burham remained in custody while we developed our case. About 12 days ago, Mr. Burham who was being held in the Warren County Jail had escaped, which caught all of us off guard and surprise, it’s not something that we ever would expect to happen but nevertheless it did happen, and fortunately he was taken back into custody this past Saturday and thankfully it was without any violence, there was no bloodshed, everybody is safe,” explained Schmidt.

The exact details of Burham’s escape have not yet been released. 

“I only know what everybody else knows, he seemed to access the roof area through whatever recreation equipment was available, maybe a pull-up bar or something like that, it’s a little shocking to us that something like that could occur and at that time of day which was very late, it’s hard for me to speak about it because honestly it’s outside of our jurisdiction so we would leave that to Warren County to explain that further,” Schmidt said.

So far, Burham has not been formally charged in New York State. 

“We haven’t charged anything yet, but we are certainly focused on Kala’s homicide so that would give rise on the face of things to a Murder in the Second Degree charge, which is a charge that’s appropriate when someone intentionally causes the death of another person, and that’s the charge that we’re focused on. He is our primary suspect,” said Schmidt. “Here, we’re not dealing with a charge we take lightly. I’d rather go forward with all of my evidence intact and that’s why we’re very deliberate and mindful of how we proceed here. We want to be smart, we only get one shot at this and we’re going to be very careful about when we level that shot.”

In the end, Schmidt is hoping to see the end of the case soon.

“We don’t have a lot of resources here in Chautauqua County, we don’t have our own crime lab, we’re a modest community, so we rely on the services of New York State police, they’ve been terrific, but because that’s outside of our control it’s hard to anticipate but I’m predicting that I’ll be in Grand Jury in this case within about a month,” said Schmidt. 

WNY News Now will continue to provide updates as they become available. 


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