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Burley initiates post-trial motions in court

Feb. 6—As Keith Burley begins his life sentence for the brutal stabbing death of 8-year-old Markie Mason, he is aiming to contest the fairness of his trial.

But Burley, 47, now housed in the state correctional institution in Forest County, sat at a conference table Monday morning awaiting a video court proceeding for the motion with his court-appointed counsel, Michael Yagersky of Beaver County. Burley posed as his own defense during August's trial, where he was found guilty after an 11-minute jury deliberation.

After about 30 minutes in conference with District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa and Lawrence County Common Pleas President Judge Dominick Motto to discuss the terms of the motion, Yagersky met privately with his client who asked for a time extension to file supplemental post-sentencing motions because of the recent availability of the trial transcripts. He claimed he did not have time to prepare.

Motto denied this and scheduled a deadline of Feb. 24 for him to file papers on anything appropriate to the case, Yagersky explained.

After all of Burley's post-trial motions are resolved, he intends to file a direct appeal under the state's post-conviction relief act, his attorney said.

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Motto on Sept. 19 sentenced Burley to serve two consecutive life terms in prison — one for first-degree murder and one for second-degree murder, plus another one to two years for a conviction of simple assault for having bitten Maram Ford — Markie's mother — on the eye and assaulting her the night of July 8, 2019.

Motto, when sentencing Burley, commented, "I think the evidence of guilt was overwhelming."

Yagersky is new to the case, which was prosecuted by Lamancusa and Assistant District Attorney Emily Sanchez-Parodi. Defense attorney Justin Quinn of Beaver County was appointed to serve as an adviser to Burley. Burley had dismissed him as his defense counsel and represented himself.

The murder trial prosecutors were Lamancusa and

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com