Police nab murder suspect in Weston

Authorities arrested a murder suspect on the night of Wednesday, Feb. 4 in Weston, Mo. after he crashed a stolen vehicle following a pursuit.

Michael Burkman

Michael D. Burkman, 47, was wanted in Wayne County — located in rural southeastern Missouri — on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of John C. Fowler, 57. Burkman also faces felonies for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest stemming from charges filed in July of 2014 in nearby Bollinger County for a separate incident.

According to a release, the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop H officers observed the suspect in a stolen vehicle traveling southbound on Interstate 29 in Andrew County. They attempted to stop the vehicle before a pursuit ensued with Platte County Sheriff’s Office deputies becoming involved.

The chase continued on various county roads when authorities lost sight of the stolen vehicle, a four-door 2001 GMC pickup truck.

A short time later, authorities confirmed that Burkman’s vehicle had been involved in an accident when he failed to stop at a stop sign on Middle Road in Weston. The collision involved a tractor trailer, but there were no confirmed injuries.

Burkman was transported to the Platte County Detention Center to be held, pending extradition.

According to a report in the Southeast Missourian, Burkman broke into a house Wednesday morning near McGee, Mo. in Wayne County and stole the truck and a gun before eventually fleeing the area despite an ongoing manhunt.

“He broke into the house, and according to the victims,” Wayne County sheriff Dean Finch told the Missourian. “He drank a couple of beers and ate some hot dogs and cottage cheese and took him a shower and then stole the truck and a .22 rifle and ammunition and left.”

On Tuesday, Burkman broke into a house in Bollinger County and stole a four-wheeler, several guns and a change of clothes, Finch said to the Missourian.

“I think he drank him some scotch there,” he said.

According to Finch, Fowler had been living in Heaven’s Hope Campground off County Road 224 in the Hiram, Mo. area.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 11:15 a.m. Sunday from a motorist who had driven up on what was reported as an all-terrain vehicle accident near the private campground. Officers responded and found Fowler deceased with an ATV nearby. He had died from a gunshot to the upper back and had multiple shotgun wounds.

Finch said Burkman and Fowler knew each other, but the motive for Fowler’s death is not known.