A Cumberland man accused of committing three Maryland homicides more than 100 miles apart in about 24 hours last month has been indicted in Howard County for two of the murders, court records show.
The indictment handed up Wednesday charges Jeffrey Burnham, 46, in the killings of his brother and sister-in-law in Ellicott City. Burnham has also been charged with felony auto theft, using a firearm in the commission of a felony crime of violence and simple theft, online court records show.
High school sweethearts from Cumberland, Brian and Kelly Sue Robinette, 58 and 57, had created and idyllic life in Howard County, raising two children and sending them to college. Their lives ended Sept. 30 when Brian Robinette’s estranged half brother, Burnham, showed up with a gun and an apparent grudge for his half-brother’s work as a pharmacist who administered COVID vaccines, authorities said.
The Robinette’s were found shot to death in an upstairs room of their house on Kerger Road, roughly 24 hours after Burnham is accused of fatally stabbing his mother’s friend, 83-year-old Rebecca Reynolds, at her home in Cumberland. Police said he then stole her Lincoln SUV and drove east towards the unsuspecting couple, according to court records.
Friends of the couple said they had little contact with Burnham in recent years.
Burnham is also charged in Allegany County with first-degree murder and auto theft. A grand jury in Western Maryland handed down the indictment Oct. 20.
He does not have an attorney listed in online court records for Howard County indictment. A spokeswoman for the Office of the Public Defender, which is representing Burnham in Allegany County, said she could not comment Thursday afternoon.
At his lawyer’s request, a judge in Allegany County ordered the Maryland Department of Health to evaluate Burnham’s competency to stand trial. The health department returned its report on his immediate capacity to understand the nature of the charges against him and assist in his own defense. Burnham is slated to appear for a competency hearing in Cumberland Tuesday.
Burnham’s neighbors and family have hinted toward deteriorating mental health.
Residents of the same block in Cumberland where Burnham lived with his mother recalled watching him devolve from a boy scout to a loner who erupted at a group of children playing in the street days before his crime spree. Evelyn Burnham brought her concerns to Cumberland police: Her son had set up a security system in his bedroom and suggested they were being pursued by the FBI.
Family members told The Sun he believed in conspiracy theories and that he was against his mother receiving COVID-19 immunizations.
Burnham told a person not named in his Allegany County charging documents that his half brother, Brian Robinette was “killing people with the COVID shot,” because of his work as a pharmacist.
Burnham’s crime spree sparked an 18-hour manhunt. Authorities said he was captured outside a motel in Davis, West Virginia, where he flagged down a firefighter and reported he “had been forced to kill three people.” He was extradited back to Maryland Oct. 5.