UNION TWP., Pa (WYTV) – The man who police say brutally stabbed an 8-year-old boy to death in Lawrence County late Monday night is now sitting behind bars in the Mahoning County jail as he awaits extradition to Pennsylvania.
U.S. Marshals took 43-year-old Keith Burley into custody on Tuesday. He had just gotten out of jail for another murder.
“I just can’t believe someone would even harm a little boy like that,” said Dana Yerage.
Yerage and other neighbors along High Street in Union Township — where the altercation took place — are still in shock and disbelief. Even those who know Keith are stunned.
“It wasn’t that child’s time, it wasn’t worth that. I don’t know what he was thinking in his head to take a child’s life. I guess that’s what he wanted to do to make him feel better,” said Andre Burley, Keith’s cousin.
According to the criminal complaint, Keith is accused of repeatedly stabbing 8-year-old Mark Edward Mason and — according to the children who saw it happen — saying “die” as he wielded a pink camo knife.
Police say it followed a domestic dispute in New Castle inside a car over cell phones with his girlfriend, Maram Saada, Mason’s mother.
When things got physical, Saada pulled her car into the New Castle Fire Department’s parking lot, honking her horn and getting out for help.
“He took off with her car, with two boys in the vehicle,” said New Castle Fire Chief David Joseph.
Keith ended up at the house on High Street, where police say two other boys were playing video games and witnessed the entire ordeal, one running to a neighbor for help.
“The little boy was like, ‘Man, they’re gettin’ stabbed! They’re getting stabbed! The man is over stabbing them right now!'” said one neighbor, Jennifer.
The fatal stabbing happened in the kitchen, but when police arrived, Keith was nowhere to be found.
From there, a manhunt began, ultimately ending on Market Street in Youngstown, where the U.S. Marshals Task Force took him into custody on a tip that he might be hiding out near state lines.
Keith was released from jail back in March after serving 20 years for another murder case.
“If he’s already been convicted once of murder, why the hell did they let him out? It’s just not right,” said another neighbor, Nathan Glassel.
“He was institutionalized and he just wasn’t right in the head,” Andre said.
The other three children were not injured.
Keith faces a handful of charges, including homicide, kidnapping and assault, as well as a probation violation.
He’s scheduled to have an extradition hearing this Thursday.