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Family of Rochester Boy Scout leader who was shot in Craiglist sex scam doubt police findings

Union Leader Correspondent

September 24. 2018 10:57PM

Michael Burns posted this photo on Facebook Nov. 8, 2016, after voting. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER — The family of a former Rochester Boy Scout troop leader is hoping officials will review a determination by Maine State Police that he was killed last fall by justified deadly force.

Michael Burns, 54, was shot to death at a duplex on Nye Street in Saco, Maine, just before 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 30, 2017. Police say he was at the property in response to a Craigslist ad for sex.

After Burns paid a woman at the home $100 to have sex, she refused. Police say an argument erupted and Burns allegedly went out to his truck and returned with a knife to a glass-enclosed porch.

Burns was shot three times by an unidentified man.

Alfred Catalfo, a Dover-based attorney, does not believe that Burns was killed in self-defense. In a statement, he argues Burns was shot in the back of the head and in the chest, from one to three feet away, at the rear of the house.

“Mr. Burns’ son personally observed his father’s body after the incident. Mr. Burns’ face was intact,” Catalfo said in the statement. “According to the death certificate, the gunshot to the head was the cause of death. A gunshot to the back of the head is not indicative of self-defense.”

Catalfo said Monday the family hopes Maine State Police will take another look at the case. If they do not change their findings, Catalfo intends to sue the shooter, and two other witnesses, at York County Superior Court in Maine.

“The victim’s family understandably feels strongly that the circumstances of his death are extremely suspicious as outlined in my statement and want to make sure the truth comes out and justice is done for their dad,” Catalfo said.

Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Monday morning they have no reaction to Catalfo’s claims.

“We worked closely with the Attorney General’s office on lab tests, ballistic tests, interviews and re-interviews to determine there would be no charges as a result of this homicide,” McCausland said. “This case has been reviewed, examined and re-examined.”

McCausland said the investigative report is complete, even though it is not yet publicly available.

McCausland said if other charges are filed related to the incident, they will not be by Maine State Police.

In Maine, deadly force can be used when a person reasonably believes another person intends to commit a crime within a dwelling place.

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