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Victim and accused had violent past, court records show

August 02, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Court records reveal a sometimes violent relationship between Curtis and Cathy Burkett and their children going back to 1998, with a number of incidents of alleged abuse by Curtis Burkett occurring between the fall of 2005 and January.

Cathy Burkett petitioned the court in January for a protection from abuse order on behalf of herself and her 16-year-old son, Charles Burkett. Her adult son, Matthew Burkett, 18, also petitioned the court for a protection from abuse order, according to records in the Franklin County Prothonotary's Office.

In her petition, Cathy Burkett cited several incidents of alleged abuse by her husband against her and Charles Burkett. The petition stated that on Jan. 18, he "shot and killed 6 deer that I raised and told my sister that he planned to kill me and my children."

Burkett stated her husband frequently "says he will hunt me down like a dog ... I can go as far as I want, but he will find me and kill me."

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The petition stated Burkett on several occasions from the fall of 2005 to Jan. 18 threatened or assaulted Cathy and Charles Burkett. Matthew Burkett's petition recounted an incident last fall in which his father went into a bedroom and they heard a "gun action click." As they fled the house, they heard the gun go off.

"I was afraid he would shoot me, because he has frequently threatened to kill me," Matthew wrote. Matthew also wrote that his father often threatened to kill him while he slept.

Cathy Burkett listed a .22-caliber rifle, a .22-caliber magnum rifle and a shotgun as weapons he had used or threatened to use. Sheriff Robert Wollyung said a relative of Burkett's turned over the firearms to his office when the protection from abuse order was granted.

A protection from abuse order against Curtis Burkett also was issued in 1998. That year, he was charged with two counts of simple assault in separate incidents.

On June 18, 1998, he smeared mustard, egg and bread on Cathy Burkett's face, then kicked, punched and choked her, according to court records. On Aug. 8, 1998, court records stated he punched her and threatened to kill her while they were driving on Pa. 16.

Burkett later pleaded guilty to one count of simple assault and was sentenced to two days to 23 months in jail, with credit for two days time served, court records stated.

On Feb. 1, 2006, Burkett was charged with summary harassment for sending his wife a letter. Court records stated the letter was sent from Roxbury Treatment Center in Shippensburg, Pa., to Cathy Burkett at an address where she was temporarily staying.

"If you don't want me f------ with you when I get out of here, you better stop f------ with me," he wrote her, according to the citation. "I know where you are and I can find you," the letter stated.

Burkett filed for a summary appeal and was before Judge John R. Walker on June 29, according to court records.

"It (appears) the parties are talking with each other and not living together, but attempting to reconcile ... and upon agreement with the District Attorney, the court is going to order that there be no fines" and that Burkett pay the cost of prosecution, Walker wrote in his court order.

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