Child stabbing suspect served minimum prison sentence for ‘positive’ behavior

Local News

A parole report explains why Keith Burley only served minimum time for a previous murder sentence

33 WYTV News uncovered new details about the suspect in the tragic death of an 8-year-old boy in Lawrence County.

Earlier this week, investigators said Mark Edward Mason, Jr. died at the hands of previously convicted murderer Keith Burley.

One question many people have been asking is why Burley was released from prison after only serving the minimum of a 20- to 40-year sentence.

He pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for shooting and killing a man during a robbery in New Castle back in 1999.

A document from the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole sheds more light on Burley’s release less than four months ago.

Despite serving time behind bars for murder — and other convictions including aggravated assault and gun charges — on March 1 of this year, the PA Board of Probation decided to free Burley for what was cited as several positive reasons.

According to the parole board’s official notice, they had interviewed Burley and reviewed his file.

They cited several reasons for his release, one of which was Burley’s positive institutional behavior.

But, that’s at odds with a 2002 incident that happened inside of the prison. According to court documents, Burley was then charged with aggravated harassment and assault by a prisoner.

The parole board also took a positive recommendation by the state department of corrections and the trial judge into consideration.

They also wrote he’d accepted responsibility for the offenses he committed and said he was sorry for them.

Page two of the document gave Burley a list of things he could and could not do while on parole.

It included never having alcohol or drugs, taking regular drug tests and required him to keep a regular job.

It also said Burley could not operate a vehicle without a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, proof of insurance or registration.

Since this is now the second time Burley has been charged with homicide and given the young age of the victim, Lawrence County District Attorney Josh Lamancusa announced he would seek the death penalty in this case.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.