Keith Burley

The stabbing death of an 8-year-old boy last night in Union Township allegedly occurred after what started as a domestic incident and kidnapping from the parking lot of the New Castle Fire Department.

Deputy coroner Rich "R.J." Johnson identified the child as Mark Edward Mason. 

State police have confirmed that Keith L. Burley, 43, of Edinburg, who is accused in the homicide, was arrested this morning in Youngstown by U.S. Marshals, following an overnight manhunt. Burley is currently in Mahoning County, Ohio jail 

Burley allegedly assaulted the boy's 36-year-old mother — who is believed to have been his girlfriend — in the lot around 10:40 p.m., then he took her car with her two sons inside and drove them to a house at 60 High St. in Union Township, according to an account from Johnson.

Burley is charged with criminal homicide and 14 other offenses in connection with the alleged homicide.

A 911 call regarding the stabbing, placed by one of two juveniles at that house, was received about 10 to 12 minutes after Burley left the fire department lot, according to information Johnson provided this morning.

Burley is accused of stabbing the 8-year-old boy at the High Street home, where friends of Burley reportedly live. When police and emergency medical services arrived, the boy was already dead on the kitchen floor, and his 7-year-old brother was safe upstairs, Johnson reported.

Johnson said the deceased child apparently suffered multiple stab wounds. An autopsy is being performed today at Heritage Valley Health System in Beaver County.

Johnson said the two boys reportedly were in the car while their mother was outside arguing with Burley. After allegedly assaulting her, he reportedly got into the car with the two boys and drove away, went to the house on High Street and the incident was reported to the police as a kidnapping, he said.

The New Castle Fire Department reportedly has surveillance video of the alleged domestic assault. The mother was taken to UPMC Jameson for treatment for her injuries.

New Castle police took the initial call for the domestic and responded to it, New Castle Police Department Chief Bobby Salem said, and they also assisted at the scene in Union Township, but the incident is being investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police.

In addition to the homicide charge, state police also have charged Burley with two counts each of aggravated assault, kidnapping to inflict terror and unlawful restraint, three counts of terroristic threats, four counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of simple assault.

He is to be arraigned later this morning in the court of District Judge Melissa A. Amodie.

Burley was on parole from a previous homicide when last night's incident occurred, according to state police.


Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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