Sep. 20, 2022
Legislation will protect public from violent offenders
HARRISBURG – Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence) announced today that his legislation, which focuses on the parole process for violent offenders, is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
House Bill 146
, or Markie’s Law, was named after Markie Mason, an 8-year-old boy who was brutally stabbed to death by a man who was paroled at the end of his minimum sentence for homicide, even after committing two separate assaults of other inmates while in prison.
“Markie’s Law must get over the finish line and signed into law by the governor,” said Bernstine. “This bill would keep the most dangerous inmates from a premature release in order to protect and serve our Commonwealth residents and would have saved Mark’s life.”
The bill would postpone consideration of a violent inmate’s parole an additional 24 months following the inmate’s minimum release date for each conviction of a violent offense while incarcerated. In addition, it would suspend consideration of an inmate’s parole an additional 12 months if the inmate attempts to escape, smuggles contraband, or retaliates or intimidates witnesses while incarcerated.
Keith Burley, a convicted murderer, was released from prison in March 2019 after serving 20 years in a robbery/shooting death. Burley was arrested four months later in the stabbing death of Mason, who he abducted in a car with his 7-year-old brother during a domestic dispute.
The parole board determined that Burley was not only rehabilitated, but also that he no longer posed a risk to the public at the conclusion of his minimum sentence.
“Markie’s Law will hold inmates accountable for their actions while incarcerated,” said Bernstine. “Individuals such as Burley are a danger to society, and the death of Markie Mason is a clear and tragic example of that.”
Representative Aaron Bernstine
10th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner
717.260.6437 (office), 717.497.8478 (cell)