The Bradenton Herald from Bradenton, Florida on October 25, 1991 · 7
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The Bradenton Herald from Bradenton, Florida · 7

Bradenton, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, October 25, 1991
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The Bradenton Herald Friday October 25 1991 Aa7 — i smostrwanted inTcUstod SAM STARNES Hsrald Staff Writer The television ahow Unsolved Mysteries did in half a day what local state and federal law officers had been trying to do for more than 3 Vi years: FindJames Burnside Burnside wanted tor his wife’s stabbing and the shooting of another man in a Bradenton prying lot in February 1988 was captured Thursday morning near Birmingham Ala His arrest came about 13 hours after the crime was re-enacted on national television ‘ More than 500 tips a handful of them leading Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to Burnside were called in after the show aired Wednesday night r Exposure of a case cm national television is a tod unparalleled in the regular arsenal of police investigation tactics criminal experts said “It gives a level of exposure that really is impossible with traditional law enforcement techniques1’ said Leonard Territo a criminologist at the University of South Florida who specializes in tracking serial killers “You have millions of seeing this” ' The two national shows re-enacting crimes and asking fen the public’s help in finding fugitives are Unsolved Mysteries on NBC now what to say or do” Otteni said Thursday afternoon during a brief telephone conversation before he left work and went into inclusion - “I’ve carried a picture of (Bum-side) on the visor of my patrol car since the day it happened” ahum’s Maj Ken Pearson said "It’s timing down 1 THE CAPTURE ’Burnside a carpenter who worked at the flea market the three months under the alias Williams told co-workers Thursday morning he expected some trouble during the day au- -thorities said Burnside watched Unsolved Mysteries the night before Shelly County" Sheriff James Jones said - As Burnside wearing a red ins hauled ti shirt and blue jeans I ea onto the flea market roof about 7:30 am Jones and FBI agents plotted their strategy to capture him --"They called us this morning ind said they wanted our uniformed officers to go with them so there would be no question Who we were” Jones said "Then we met with them and laid out a 1 strategy how we would work T 1 -’An hour later the capture began at the 140-stall flea market separating patches of woods along four-lane US Highway 280 "We had a deputy and (FBI) agent in a marked (sheriffs cruiser) They spotted Burnside and called on the radio tar backup” Jones said "He was on the (8-foot tall) roof of the (flea market) do- carpentry work" ' i tried to fight when he saw police scurrying for his in a beat-up white Ford pic truck parked about 10 feet from the flea market where Burnside was living in a trailer - “He saw (the officers) jumped off the roof ran to his truck got in tbs truck produced his weapon and pointed it at the officers” Jones said The first two officers were outride their car — several feet from Burnside’s truck — when they saw him print the gun at the FBI ‘agent through the closed driver’s ide window Jones said - "They returned fire immediately" Jones said "He never got a round off that we know ' "He was inside the pickup truck when he was shot” Jones said "He was in the truck and the window was up He printed (the gun) in the directum of the Officers and it was very clear ‘what he intended to do” - “We’re not sure at this print whose weapon hit Burnside” Jones said "One FBI agent and -one deputy shot into the truck” Jones and FBI agents refined to identify the FBI agent and sheriff deputy who fired at Burnside or say how many shots the pair fired Jones said the flea market was Ho— A and nobody was in danger when the shooting occurred "The direction (Burnside) ran was away from everybody” Jones said “There were some coworkers there They scattered like a covey of quails” TO TIIE HOSPITAL Paramedics from Hank’s Ambulance Service a private firm were summoned They bandaged Burnside’s hand and inserted an Bradanton HsraU He photo The James Burnside case was first profiled on America ’a Moat Wantedon the Fox Television Network in June 1988 Here TV technicians set up one of the shots and America’s Most Wanted on the Fox Television Network Both shows offer audiences well into the millions Roughly 36 million people in 17 million households were tuned into Unsolved Mysteries for the Burnside re-enactment Wednesday night said Stuart Schwarts supervising producer for the show "That’s one of the reasons we No longer a wanted man Manatee County Sheriff Charlie Weis holds a wanted poster that revealed the news of the day — intravenous tube into his arm in an ambulance along US 280 when traffic was halted and backed up until a helicopter ambulance arrived and took him to the Birmingham hospital Flight nurse Kay Gilbert said Burnside was secured with wrist restraints so he couldn’t move his arms He was uncooperative with medics during the 10-minute flight "He was very reluctant to say anything We had to ask him twice wnat his name was Finally he said A1 Williams” Gilbert said Gilbert said she and doctors at University Hospital were surprised that Williams was indeed Burnside once they saw a mug-shot photograph at him he was hit (by a bullet) in the abdomen but that proved to be due to (flying) glass or some other substance That (abdomen) wound is very superficial It’s a scratch” Black would not say when Burnside is expected to be discharged to federal agents However he said "It’s not a long-term hospitalisation” THE RETURN Sheriff Wells dispatched Capt Mike Mayer and Detective Sgt Keith Keough to Birmingham cm Thursday to interview Burnside before his return to Bradenton "One at the first things we want to know is where he’s been the last four yean” Mayer said "He looked unkempt I guess Mayer said he didn’t know He hadn’t shaved” Gilbert said whether Burnside will answer his "He didn’t loch a lot like his mug questions shot picture I guess his fees "I cant anticipate this” he looked fuller to me than the pic- said "I understand he’s been co-tun they showed us He was not operative with the FBL Of course they shot him” 1 Wells said FBI agents or US marshals in Birmingham an expected to bring Burnside to Tam-ig surgery Thursday after- pa after his hospital discharge i said Hank Black informs- because Burnside is wanted on a coordinator at University federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution Wells and Chief Assistant State Attorney Mack Futch said releas-ing Burnside in Alabama to fed- excessively obese but he sun wasn’t skinny” One bullet fragment was re-moved from Burnside’s left hand during noon tion Hospital "Then gunshot wound” Black said "Then was some initial thought help solve 3 14 -year-old mystery were able to gain the trust of law enforcement” Schwarts said "We ary so effective in reaching a gigantic mass of people” The program is hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor Robert Stack and provides "profiles at real-life cases involving unexplained deaths missing persons fugitives lost heirs mysterious legends and lost treasures” "—ding to a W VK ' V lY' sit release from the show's producers Wednesday’s re-enactment of Burnside’s case was not the first time the local case was featured on national television Burnside was featured on America's Most Wanted in July 1988 More than 200 tips were called in during the months after the broadcast The two shows depicting real-life crimes both debuted in 1988 and eral authorities fin transfer to Florida should circumvent any attempt by Burnside to block extradition Federal agents in Tampa then would turn over Burnside to Manatee County sheriffs deputies Burnside will be brought to the Manatee County jail in downtown Bradenton where he will be held without bond pending trial on first-degree murder ana attempted murder charges "I -can tell you he will be placed in (a) maximum security (cell) but whether or not £nneJ® we isolate him Burnside I don’t know” Wells said "I think we will have to decide that when we get him down here and see what Idnd of (escape) threat he is going to be” "You can be assured a dose eye will be kept on him" Wells said DEATH PENALTY Futch reiterated Thursday that prosecutors will seek the death penalty if Burnside is convicted of first-degree murder of Annette Burnside who was divorcing Burnside when she died have been very successful said Jack Breslin spokesman for America’s Most Wanted and author of a book about the show The shows tapped into the American public’s interest in true crime stories Breslin said "There always has been a tremendous interest in crime” he said "True crime depictions have always been vary popular in movies literature and magazines” Breslin said another reason for the success id the shows has been the number at fugitives that have been caught Of the 404 fugitives featured on America’s Most Wanted since it began 172 have been caught Breslin said the show by actually assisting law enforcement in catching fugitives empowers the audience "It is a way for people to fight back against crime he said “If we didn’t catch anyone we wouldn’t stay on the air” Wednesday’s telecast at Unsolved Mysteries had another success Jeff Fisher 27 of Elkhard Ind appeared on a segment in an attempt to locate John Novotny a man who befriended Fisher’s family more than 20 years ago Novotny did not see the show but received calls about it from friends and relatives He called the toll-free number provided by the James Burnside was captured A Manatee County grand jury indicted Burnside in absentia June 9 1988 charging him with first-degree murder aim attempted first-degree murder Futch declined to explain legal points justifying a death sentence but court records contend Bum-side tried to arrange a contract killing of his wife before stalking her and chasing her about 200 feet in the shopping center parking lot to kill her Futch said Thursday he had no idea when Burnside will be arraigned (m the grand jury’s charges at when Burnside will be tried "How long will that be? There is no way to predict” Futch said Burnside’s last day of freedom turned sour with the Unsolved Mysteries broadcast "We got several calls from what we believe to be the same person” FBI Special Agent Frank dent” The program aired on WVTM-TV Channel 13 in Birmingham Another person called the FBI office in Mobile Ala The program aired in Mobile on W ALA-TV Channel 10 "This person had seen (Bum-side) because he had traveled 1 Here are the copcrime re-enactment shows on television: M Unsolved mysteries 8 pm Wednesday nights on NBC-TV (Channel 8 in Tampa) began as an irregular series of specials in January 1987 H was made into a regular series In September 198a It had an audience of about 35 million people Wednesday night Of 350 fugitives featured on the ahow since it began 98 of them (28 percent) have been captured James Burnside is number 98 America's most Wanted 8 pm Friday nights on the Fox Television Network (Channel 28 in Tampa) premiered February 198a H has an average audience of 10 million people Of 404 fugitives featured on the show 172 of them (42 percent) have been captured The show received more than 200 tips on Burnside when it featured him in 198a program and will be reunited with Fisher next month in Tacoma Wash Schwarts said the shows also are about people the audience can relate to "The shows we do are about ordinary people in extraordinary situations” he said CHRIS MKULABradsnlon HsraU through the flea market circuit” Evans said Wells said he didn’t know who the correct tips but i to find out from the FBL "I hope we do more than a letter (of commendation) tolling them what a service they’ve done for our sheriffs office” Wells said "If that person or persons is willing we’ll throw a little party ” 1 GOOD WORKER The owner of the 280 Flea Market who identified him— if only as "Jeff” said ha lost a good worker 1 "(Burnside) had come highly recommended from another fled market in the same area” Jeff said "I hired him as a contractor because I’m expanding the bittiness Ha got a lot dime "This sure won’t be good for business” Jeff said Sheriff Wells said Jean Schap-pacher Annette Burnside’s mower and other relatives finally can feel safe "Jean Schappacher was really afraid of what this guy might dor Wells said “For the first time in four years she will be able to get a good night’s sleep” Herald staff writers Kate PuraeU and Ellen Moses contributed to this report

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