Move to reopen Burns death case raises eyebrows

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Mike Burns (Courtesy photo)

An attorney trying to find out more details about what led to the fatal shooting of a Rochester man in Saco a year ago has said he'll call for a hearing in court if Maine State Police deny his access to the case file.

Dover attorney Alfred T. Catalfo said on Tuesday he intended to file a Right to Know request with state officials to gain more insight into their investigation that concluded Mike Burn of Rochester was shot in self-defense early the morning of Sept. 30, 2017.

Burns, 54, a respected Boy Scout troop leader and self-employed computer technician, was shot in self-defense by the male tenant at 26 Nye St. after threatening a woman whom he'd paid for sex but had reneged, police say. Burns was shot twice in the torso and once in the head, police said in their initial statement of finding that he was shot in self-defense, a story first broken in The Rochester Voice on Sept. 11.

None of the three other individuals at the duplex that night have been identified including the shooter, the alleged prostitute and another man who first told Burns to leave.

Catalfo and the Burns family maintain that the police version of events - that an enraged Burns left the duplex, retrieved a small utility knife from his truck and threatened the alleged prostitute with it, causing him to be shot by the male tenant - is beyond belief.

The latest twist in the case came on Monday when a Maine State Police Attorney notified The Rochester Voice by email that the digital daily would not be granted access to the Burns death case file, because the York County Attorneys Office was reviewing the case for possible charges, a bombshell development no one saw coming.

"Just a week ago they said it was a clear cut case of self-defense," quipped an incredulous Catalfo upon hearing The Rochester Voice had been denied access.

Beyond protecting the integrity of the ongoing investigation, Maine State Police Attorney Christopher Parr said information would also be withheld due to privacy concerns for some of the principals involved in the incident the night of the killing.

The York County District Attorneys Office administrative staff on Tuesday said they had no knowledge of the case being pursued in their office.

York County District Attorney Kathy Slattery was not immediately available today to answer questions regarding the case status.

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