Man who tried to escape jail gets over six years

Kevin Michael Burnham

Kevin Michael Burnham, the Seaside man who tried escaping from Clatsop County Jail while in custody for an attempted murder charge from a hammer attack, was sentenced Friday, Sept. 25, to more than six years in prison.

Burnham, 26, appeared in Clatsop County Circuit Court Friday to accept his sentence.

He pleaded guilty last month to a lesser charge of second-degree robbery for the hammer attack and to first-degree attempted escape for the jail incident. He also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of methamphetamine from a previous case.

Other charges, including attempted murder, were dropped through the plea agreement.

Burnham was arrested in Seaside in February with Joshua Lee Fitch, 24.

Seaside Police responded to Providence Seaside Hospital after receiving a report of a man who had suffered a serious head injury. The man reported being assaulted with hammers by two other men, later identified as Burnham and Fitch.

Fitch was sentenced earlier this month to more than five years in prison.

“There was really no rational reason to beat up (the victim),” prosecutor Dawn Buzzard said. “He didn’t steal from them or anything.”

While in custody, Burnham and another inmate, Anthony Craig Osborne, attempted to escape from the county jail. The two inmates broke off a shower drain grate, tied it to a bedsheet and swung it against a window about 20 times until the window shattered. A couple of more swings and they could have broken through the window, which is large enough for them to get through.

“They took a steel drain, attached it to a bed sheet and started whaling on the window and they did knock some of the glass out,” Buzzard said.

The two men also flooded a toilet in the cellblock and added soap to make the floor slippery for responding corrections officers.

Their plan failed when corrections officers heard the grate hitting the window. The officers detained the inmates and placed them in a more secure part of the jail.

The estimated damage could cost between $4,000 and $5,000 to fix, according to the jail.

Buzzard requested 90 days to determine the amount of restitution for the damage.

Osborne, 24, was in custody on theft, burglary and drug charges. He is scheduled for a final resolution conference in December.

Burnham’s defense attorney Rock Pizzo and the prosecution were negotiating a plea agreement in the attempted murder case before the attempted escape.

The reason he tried to escape was because the District Attorney’s Office gave him such a bad deal. However, he accepted that deal by pleading guilty to second-degree robbery.

“In the end Mr. Burnham has discovered, through the angst of these past six months, that however it went down at some point he has lost his soul to drugs and he wants to spend this time to get his soul back,” Pizzo said.


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