Special Assignment: A mother's fight for justice - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Special Assignment: A mother's fight for justice

Brent Burke Brent Burke
Tracy Burke Tracy Burke
Karen Comer Karen Comer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- Some say it's turning into the David Camm case of Kentucky. After three mistrials, Brent Burke, a former military officer, will face a fourth double murder trial.

Fox 41's Rachel Collier reveals one mother's fight for justice in the murders. She traveled to Ashland, Kentucky to talk to Tracy Burke's mother who says sitting through three trials and facing a fourth, is just as painful as losing her daughter.

Pictures inside Patricia Wilburn's home show a happy family. Brent Burke, the husband of Tracy Burke is a military police officer at Fort Campbell. They have two children together, a little girl and boy. Tracy's oldest son, is from another marriage. He's the one who made the chilling phone call the day after his mother was killed.

Caller: "Last night I was afraid to call and um, well, they shot, they shot the only two people here, which was my grandma and my mom."

It's September 11, 2007 and police in Rineyville, Kentucky have just found out about a double murder through this terrified little boy.

911 Dispatcher: "Where are they at right now?"

Caller: "They're in my house. There's blood splattered everywhere."

The boy's mother, Tracy Burke and her ex mother in law, Karen Comer, have been shot to death, as well as a family dog. Tracy's three children witnessed the shootings and two testified in court.

Witness: "I heard glass shattering looked up grandma was on the floor. The guy was in a hooded mask with a camouflage jacket. It was Brent, it was obvious it was him. My stepfather, yes."

Three years and three mistrials later, Tracy's estranged husband, Brent Burke will be heading to trial for the fourth time for the murders. A fourth trial means Tracy Burke's young sons will testify again and her family will have to listen to every painful detail once more. It means, they're still waiting for justice.

"We cry every night, every day. Yeah, I don't really celebrate the holidays anymore, because the last time I celebrated a holiday when we was together was Thanksgiving with her," said Wilburn.

She decorates her daughter's grave for each holiday.

"This is my only way of talking to her. and in prayers, this is how I see my child. Brent's mom can see him every day," said Wilburn.

Wilburn is taking her push for justice to a whole new level. "I wanna make sure this murderer stays where he's at."

Wearing a jail suit and carrying a bucket with Brent's picture on it, she'll be asking for donations at local restaurants. She and her family are convinced Burke is responsible for the murders. They never got a verdict, three trials ended in mistrials. Wilburn lives in Ashland, Kentucky, nearly four hours away from the courthouse in Elizabethtown.

She's raising money so she can sleep, eat and stay in E-town for the length of the next trial. The money will also help support her grand kids, who also want the whole ordeal to be over with.

"My oldest grandson said, 'I'll tell them again, my daddy did it, just like he said, I"I'll tell him again my daddy did it,'" said Wilburn.

Patricia says the children miss Tracy terribly, especially evident on Mother's Day. "I had to pick him up from school cause he was crying because he was trying to make a Mother's Day card."

Patricia's friends are here for support. They're in a national group called Parents for Murdered Children. The support group also fights for victim's rights and petitions for prisoners up for parole to stay in jail. They've each lost a child to murder.

They know too well that the road to justice can be long and trying. Wilburn says she doesn't care if there are 20 mistrials, as long as Brent Burke stays behind bars.

"It's hard, it's hard, but if it keeps him in jail, then that's what we want. I don't want him to walk," said Wilburn.

The fourth trial has been set for early March.

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