Company Commander says Burke and wife had domestic past

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - A man who has worked at hundreds of crime scenes says it's rare to find what he did. That testimony came today in Brent Burke's fourth trial. The former Fort Campbell soldier is accused of shooting his wife just before their divorce was finalized and her former mother-in-law. Also testifying was the man who told Burke about the shootings.

On the third day prosecutors called Burke's Company Commander Maj. Mark Katz says he was first to meet with him on post after the shootings in early September 2007.

"He saw me and was rather distraught at the time," said Katz. "(He) wanted to know what was going on.

Katz says Burke knew there had been some sort of an accident.

"He was emotionally distraught, very concerned about his children," said Katz. "Confused."

Burke curled up in a fetal position, sitting on the floor. Then he made a phone call.

"I heard his mother asking if he did do it, if he killed her," said Katz. "He said no."

Katz also mentioned past problems between the Burkes in May 2007, six months before the shootings.

"Sgt. Burke and his wife had a domestic dispute," said Katz. "I want to say in May, and that time frame he was moved into the barracks for that mandatory 72-hour cooling off period."

The prosecution also spent the morning accounting for all the bullets shell casings. Kentucky State Police missed three casings at the scene, along with a bullet fragment found in the carpet. The cleaning crew discovered all of them.

"I've cleaned hundreds of crime scenes and it's very rare to come across something like that," said Kyle Braun who worked on the Rineyville home. "So we made sure to call the police right away."

Months later Tracy's sister-in-law Hillary Wilburn, now guardian to two of her children found another shell casing in a stroller at her home hours away.

"I heard a little clink on the garage floor, cement floor and it was a bullet casing," said Wilburn. "At that point I called my husband in and he picked it up with a pen and put it in a Ziploc bag."

The defense questioned how Kentucky State Police could have missed all these things at the crime scene.

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