Couple found dead in home

Wife was fatally shot

husband apparently committed suicide

July 16, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A 41-year-old Carroll County woman was fatally shot Sunday night after she went to the home of her estranged husband, who then apparently killed himself, according to Maryland State Police.

Found dead inside the house were Judith A. Burger, who was living nearby with her father, and Kenneth L. Burger, 53, of the 3600 block of Old Hanover Road - several miles north of Westminster off Route 97 - who was on the floor near the bed lying on a shotgun, police said.

Police said Judith Burger had obtained a protective order against her husband last month after police charged him with assaulting her June 23. Yesterday, it could not be determined why she was at the house. Her husband had been ordered to have "no contact whatsoever" with her, said Lt. Bud Frank, a state police spokesman.

"Unfortunately, for all of us, all indications are that she voluntarily went there," he said. "There is no indication that it was a kidnapping or anything like that."

Police said the couple had been married 22 years and had three sons and a daughter, ages 17 to 22. None was at the residence at the time of the killings.

Judith Burger moved out of the couple's home May 28 and was staying with her father, who lived about a quarter-mile away.

Troopers found the couple's bodies in an upstairs bedroom about 11 p.m., three hours after responding to a call from her brother. Police, who were aware of the protective order and the pending assault case, tried to make contact by telephone or bullhorn, Frank said.

The brother, Henry J. Lang Jr., told police he received an irate telephone call in which Kenneth Burger told Lang to stay out of his business, police said.

Troopers from the Westminster barracks found both of the Burgers' vehicles in the driveway, the spokesmen said. Members of the Hostage Recovery Team and the Special Tactical Assault Team Element and a state police helicopter, were called to the home.

At the scene Sunday night, police said one of the couple's sons told them that his mother had visited his father several times in the past month, and that he and his two brothers had taken Kenneth Burger's guns from the house.

A family member said yesterday that she and relatives had no comment.

On June 24, Judith Burger obtained a protective order against her husband in Carroll County Circuit Court, police said. Orders also were issued requiring him to stay away from her brother and her father, Henry J. Lang Sr., who lives on Portias Delight Drive, off Old Hanover Road.

About 11 p.m. June 23, troopers had been called to the father's home, where Judith Burger had been living, according to police reports. She told police that her estranged husband had been waiting for her there and had stepped in front of her car as she pulled into the lane.

She stopped, he began an argument, reached into the car, hit her several times in the face, pulled out her hair and threatened to kill her, police said. She said he told her she would not be taking a cruise she had planned with her brother, which was to depart today.

A second-degree assault charge was filed, according to the police report. After troopers tried to locate him for three days, Kenneth Burger surrendered at the Carroll County Central Booking facility, where he was served with the criminal charge and the domestic-violence order June 27.

Police had no prior record of domestic problems between the Burgers, the spokesmen said, but Judith Burger told troopers last month that her husband had assaulted her and pulled out her hair in 1994 - an incident she did not report.

Tracy A. Gilmore, deputy state's attorney for Carroll County, said the second-degree assault charge had been filed in District Court against Kenneth Burger, stemming from the incident June 23 that led to the protective order.

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