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Cumberland man charged in 3 killings, including his own brother, gets plea deal

February 23rd, 2023 by WCBC Radio

Jeffrey Burnham preliminarily accepted a plea deal on Thursday  in connection with the 2021 killings of three people, including a Cumberland woman. A status conference held at Howard County Circuit Court included Burnham, his public defender, Josh Speert, and Howard County State's Attorney Richard Gibson.

In Allegany County Burnham was charged with the September 29, 2021 killing of 83 year-old Rebecca Reynolds at her Fourth Street resident. Reynolds, who was shot to death, was a friend of Burnham’s mother. In Howard County, Burnham was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his brother Brian and Kelly Robinette.

WBAL reports the plea deal offered was for Burnham to plead guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and receive a sentence of "not criminally responsible," which is Maryland's version of an insanity defense, but is also the sentence. The deal was based on findings of two doctors.

Through his attorney and then in his own words, the defendant answered "yes" when asked if he accepted the plea deal, and "yes sir" when asked if he understood what everyone was saying. Burnham told the judge he plans to accept the plea deal at a hearing scheduled for March 28.

Burnham, 48, of Cumberland, was arrested after an 18-hour manhunt in September 2021 that led Maryland authorities to West Virginia. He has remained in custody ever since.

Speert and Gibson explained to the judge how and why an agreement was reached, what comes next and why the next court date is now set for March 28, when the plea deal will be made official and there will be victim impact statements. A trial remains scheduled for April 17 because nothing is finalized and Burnham could decide to reject the deal at the hearing.

He is currently being held in Allegany County for the Cumberland murder