SKOWHEGAN – A visibly injured Harmony man who was involved in a police shootout and chase that covered multiple counties made his first court appearance on Thursday.
Richard Murray-Burns, 29, responded with gunfire from an assault-style weapon when Waterville police Officer Timothy Hinton attempted to stop him for shoplifting, officials said.
“Mr. Burns … Murray-Burns you’re charged with aggravated attempted murder, a Class A crime, occurring on December 22 of last year in Fairfield,” Justice Robert Mullen said from the bench. “Because this is an initial appearance, I can’t take a plea from you.”
Hinton’s cruiser had at least 15 bullet holes and Hinton was hit twice, once in each arm. Even so, he pursued Murray-Burns until other law enforcement officers joined the chase. Eight fired their weapons in an attempt to stop the fleeing suspect, finally getting him stopped in nearby Canaan.
“My office, the district attorney’s office, is going to dedicate all the resources necessary to make sure this very serious case gets all the attention it deserves,” said Francis Griffin Jr., assistant district attorney for Somerset County.
Griffin asked for a bail of $1 million for Murray-Burns, which was granted by the judge.
Murray-Burns had been in the hospital for the gunshot wound or wounds he received in the shootout and was arrested when he was released Wednesday.
The probable cause affidavit was sealed, so Griffin could not discuss specifics in the case.
“It is a Class A but it’s a special designation,” he said. “There is different elements for … aggravated attempted murder and with respect to several of the allegations that we’ve made. They do come with a penalty of up to life in prison.”
Griffin said Murray-Burns is facing the elevated charge for two reasons.
“Law enforcement essentially and the nature of the facts as described in the affidavit,” Griffin said, declining to release any details from the sealed court documents.
Mullen assigned Waterville attorney Pamela Ames to represent Murray-Burns.
“We reserve the right to address bail when we have more information available to us,” Ames said during the short hearing.
The case against Murray-Burns will be presented to the next grand jury, then he’ll be back in court to enter a plea.
“Fortunately, this case did not result in loss of life,” Griffin said.