ATTORNEY: Brent Burke turned down "much better" plea deal - WDRB 41 Louisville News

ATTORNEY: Brent Burke turned down "much better" plea deal

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After four mistrials, Fort Campbell soldier Brent Burke has been convicted of double murder by a military jury.

But the case is far from over.

WDRB's Rachel Collier has uncovered some surprising revelations about what was happening behind closed doors with Burke and his attorney.

Burke's attorney, William Carter, doubts the jury spent enough time going over the evidence in the case.

"It seems like they already had their mind made up before they went out, because they didn't deliberate long enough to talk about the evidence," he said.

The way he understood it, Carter said the case will automatically be appealed through regular protocol of the Army. He said the results of the appeal will take a year to a year-and-a-half.

Burke is now convicted in the 2007 double murder of his estranged wife, Tracy, and her former mother-in-law, Karen Comer.

After four mistrials, prosecutors dropped charges against Burke last summer. That's when Fort Campbell stepped in, charging and trying him in military court.

Today we found out a new twist in the case: Burke's attorney said he was actually offered a plea deal before this fifth trial, but wouldn't take it.

"He was offered a plea agreement, which was much better than he got," Carter said. "We recommended that very strongly and he would not accept it." 

Lead Detective Larry Walker has believed Brent Burke did it all along from the moment he interviewed him in 2007.  "His story just kept changing multiple, multiple times," said Walker. "One of the big factors of the interview he immediately blurted out that Tracy took the gun within 4 minute of the interview. And I hadn't even mentioned anything about what type of firearms do you own? he just blurted it out of nowhere."

Walker says several statements made by Burke were never heard in court until now. Those statements, coupled with other facts of the case, brought home the verdict Walker could not get four times before.

"His child, his own child actually saw the murders and immediately told authorities once we arrived on the scene that his dad shot mommy and grandma," said Walker. 

After being defeated four times--Walker says he's elated to have justice for Tracy and Karen. He just wishes Tracy Burke's mom, who passed away in March, could've been here for it. "And actually our last phone conversation was late February. She said, Larry, I just pray that I'll be able to sit in that courtroom one day and hear the word 'guilty' come out of the jurors mouth. we think that her and Tracy and Karen were looking down on us yesterday afternoon at Fort Campbell."

Military procedure means Burke will get automatic appeal. He has been dishonorably discharged, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Comer's daughter says Burke is headed to federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.



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