Fourth murder trial underway for Tri-State native

Brent Burke / KHQA file photo

UPDATE: April 4 at 9:26 p.m.

Jurors considering the fate of accused killer Brent Burke were unable to come to a unanimous decision Monday night, and for the second time in the last nine months, a mistrial has been issued in the case against the former U.S. Army Sergeant.

That is the fourth mistrial in this case.

Ursa native Burke is accused of killing his estranged wife, Tracy Burke, and her former mother-in-law, Karen Comer, in 2007.

According to The News Enterprise out of Hardin County, Kentucky the jury reported just before eight p.m. Monday to the circuit judge that they could not come to an agreement.

A pre-trial hearing is now scheduled for April 26 in the case.


UPDATED: April 4 at 2:45 p.m.

According to The News-Enterprise out of Hardin County, KY, the fate of former U.S. Army Sgt. Brent Burke is now in the hands of a jury.

The jury was given the case at about 11:15 a.m. today. The day started with closing arguments from both sides.

Burke is charged with killing his estranged wife, Tracy Burke, and her former mother-in-law, Karen Comer, in September 2007 in Comer's Rineyville home.

This is the fourth time Burke has gone to trial for the murders. The first three ended in mistrial.


UPDATED: March 31 at 11:10 a.m.

The prosecution is done in the fourth trial of the Tri-State area man, Brent Burke, who is accused of killing his estranged wife and former mother-in-law.

The defense began its case after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday by trying to get a witness testimony approved and briefly questioning a few witnesses said The News-Enterprise newspaper of Hardin County, Kentucky.

Army Reservist Leonard Preston of Fort Riley, Kansas testified early in the day that he had dated the victim Tracy Burke. The discussed the last text he received from her on September 10 and whether Burke had planned to meet him in his room at a Travelodge motel. Preston said that he didn't plan on Burke being there.

Although a Travelodge employee testified that paperwork showed that a rollaway bed and crib had been requested for his room, she said that Preston did not receive either.

Brent Burke's co-worker U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Austin also testified Wednesday. He stated in one conversation with Burke, Something came up with Tracy, and (Brent Burke) said ~I don TMt care if she was dead or not at this point. TM

Click here to read additional testimony from Wednesday, March 30.


UPDATED: March 29 at 4:59 p.m.

The Hardin County News-Enterprise Newspaper reports that the Burke trial is ahead of schedule. So much so that there was no need for a lunch break Tuesday because jurors were sent home before noon.

The Kentucky newspaper says that prosecution should wrap up on Wednesday and the defense is prepared to start calling witnesses by Wednesday evening.

The trial is to be interrupted on Friday for a mandatory state worker furlough day.


UPDATED: March 25 at 12:15 p.m.

The Hardin County News-Enterprise Newspaper says that Kentucky State Police Sgt. Matt Johnson testified Friday that the scene found at Karen Comer's home was the result of a "full-on assault" with Tracy Burke as the intended target.

After following a tip, Johnson admitted to interviewing suspect DeShawn White about his possible involvement in the killings. White commented to Johnson that he'd gone to the Rineyville home to commit robbery and was forced to shoot both women because they were going to call the police.

The problem with White's story is that none of the evidence found at the scene of the shootings matched White's story.

The Kentucky Newspaper reported that Sgt. Johnson said that the killer followed the "path of least resistance" that led straight to Tracy Burke and left by the same route, with no visible indication of robbery as a goal.

Judge Kelly Mark Easton, Friday, asked the jury to disregard Johnson's statements concerning White's comments because he is not a sworn witness in the trial.

KHQA will continue to provide updates to this ongoing trial, so check this story later and watch KHQA's News at Five and the Late News at 10 p.m.


An Ursa native's fourth murder trial is underway in Hardin County Kentucky.

Brent Burke is accused of killing his estranged wife and her former mother in law back in September of 2007.

The News Enterprise Newspaper reports during testimony Monday Burke's son testified he saw his father kill Tracy Burke.

Social workers also testified similar statements made by the boy, who was four at the time.

Two previous trials have ended in mistrial, and one went to the jury, but a verdict couldn't be reached.

The trial continues on Wednesday this week, and is expected to last three weeks.