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York DA's office confirms they're reviewing Burns death case for possible charges

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ALFRED, Maine - The York County District Attorney's Office confirmed on Wednesday that it is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the death of a New Hampshire man last September in Saco.

Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan told The Rochester Voice that her office is reviewing the case to see if they "proceed with any charges" in the death of Mike Burns, 54, of Rochester, a self-employed computer technician and local Boy Scout troop leader.

Just two months ago and after a nearly yearlong investigation, State Police and the state's Attorney General's office concluded Burns was killed in self-defense by a man protecting himself and a female acquaintance when Burns became enraged after he had paid her to have sex and she reneged.

Burns was shot twice in the torso and once in the head as he threatened the pair with a knife, the probe concluded.

The Sept. 30, 2017, killing of Burns, who graduated from Berwick Academy and Norwich Military Academy in Vermont and left two grown sons serving in the military, has both fixated and frustrated many locals who knew and respected him.

Maine State Police and the Major Crimes Unit took almost a year to investigate the case before releasing their conclusions to The Rochester Voice on Sept. 11. Here's what they said: Burns had gone to the duplex at 26 Nye St. in Saco to have sex with a prostitute whose ad he'd seen on Craigslist. Then after he paid her $100, another man came in the room and told him to leave. Burns then left, retrieved a 3" utility knife from his truck and threatened another man and the woman, whereupon he was shot three times and died soon after.

The explanation marked the first time police had mentioned that Burns had a knife, and that he was shot three times instead of one as they had originally reported in press releases the day of the shooting.

The State Police findings of self-defense came soon after a transcript of the 911 call made immediately after the shooting and obtained by The Rochester Voice in July indicated that the caller said an intruder had come at him with a knife.

The transcript begins with a 911 dispatch specialist asking, "What's the address of your emergency," to which the caller replies, "Some guy was tryin' to break in my house and stab me."

The 911 dispatcher then asks for the caller's home town.

"I shot him. I shot him," the caller replies.

A Maine State Police spokesman also noted on Sept. 11 that the Attorney Generals' Office had decided no charges would be forthcoming in the case.

Now a Dover attorney representing the Burns family is trying to find out more details about what led to the deadly encounter, including seeking full disclosure of case details and possibly filing a wrongful death suit in an effort to subpoena the three people that were there at the duplex with Burns the night of his death.

Dover attorney Alfred T. Catalfo said recently he intended to file a Right to Know request with state officials to gain more insight into their investigation.

McGettigan said while the case is "under review" she could release no details, but said whatever they find they will refer to Maine State Police and Saco Police as well as Burns' family members.

McGettigan refused to confirm or deny whether this was the first time the case had been referred to the York County District Attorneys Office.

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