Thurston County Judge Sentences Man to 36 Years for Killing His Wife, Shooting Stepson


A Thurston County judge has sentenced a 76-year-old Olympia man to 36 years in prison for the 2019 murder of his wife and attempted murder of his stepson.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson decided the sentence Tuesday following a three-week jury trial that concluded on Sept. 24, according to court documents.

The jury found Randall Burcham guilty of five charges: second-degree murder domestic violence while armed with a firearm, attempted second-degree murder domestic violence while armed with a firearm, fourth-degree assault domestic violence, third-degree malicious mischief, and tampering with physical evidence.

The murder and assaults occurred on May 9, 2019 at Burcham's home on the 1900 block of Meixner Street Northeast, the Olympian previously reported.

Prosecutors had accused Burcham of assaulting his wife, Edna Burcham, then shooting her three times in the head and chest with a single action revolver while her son called 911. He then turned the revolver on the son and shot him twice in the back, paralyzing him, per the documents.

Burcham had no previous criminal record, but prosecutors said he had a history of "irritability and verbally aggressive behavior" that may have been connected to a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, according to the documents.

He had served in the Vietnam War and retired from military service, according to court documents.

During the trial, Burcham's attorney argued his PTSD placed him in a dissociative state that made him incapable of forming intent.

Judge Wilson sentenced Burcham to the middle of the standard sentencing range for the second-degree murder of his wife and attempted second-degree murder of his stepson, according to a press release from the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office.

Both sentences will run consecutive to each other, so his total period of confinement could be 433 months in state prison, per court documents. This includes 120 months based on him being armed with a firearm during the crimes.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office Investigative Service Division, led by Detective Mickey Hamilton, investigated the case, according to the release. Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Lindsey Trakel and Elizabeth McMullen prosecuted the case.

The family of Edna Burcham, 72, described her as a talented seamstress and cook, family historian and positive person during the sentencing hearing, according to the news release.

"This process has been long and difficult for Edna's family, and while they will continue to live with the consequences of Mr. Burcham's actions, the sentence ordered by the court today serves as some measure of closure and justice," the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office news release says.

In 2019, over 1,260 victims of domestic violence received advocacy services from the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office at the Family Support Center of South Sound, according to the release.

Commenting is currently disabled for all users