Keith Burley

The suspect in the Monday stabbing death of an 8-year-old boy had recently been released from a state correctional institution on parole.

Keith L. Burley Jr., 43, had served 20 years, the minimum number of years of his sentence in a robbery/shooting death of 36-year-old Randall Stewart on March 19, 1999, in the Halco Drive area.

According to a 1999 report provided by city police chief Bobby Salem, police had been called to Halco Drive regarding a man who had been shot to death. The police through an investigation determined that Burley had shot Stewart. Burley initially faced 90 different charges, including homicide and robbery.

He had pleaded guilty to one count each of third-degree murder and having a gun without a license, and he served the minimum in a state correctional institution for a 20- to 40-year prison term. He had been released from prison within the past couple of months.

Burley was arrested in Youngstown on Tuesday in the Monday night stabbing death of 8-year-old Mark Edward Mason, whom he allegedly abducted in a car with his 7-year-old brother during a domestic dispute with the boys' mother.

The two boys reportedly were in the car while their mother and Burley were arguing in the parking lot of the New Castle Fire Department, then Burley allegedly assaulted her and took her car, a black Buick Encore, with the boys in it. He drove to a house of an acquaintance at 60 High St. in Union Township, where he allegedly stabbed Mason to death in the kitchen, according to reports.

The couple's dispute was unrelated to the fire department location and occurred there randomly, according to the 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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