Local News

Retired Durham officer accused of murder dies

Posted December 1, 2013
Updated December 2, 2013

Timothy W. Burns

— A former Durham police officer accused of stabbing his wife to death last month has died.

Durham County jail officials said Sunday that Timothy W. Burns, 51, died Friday at Rex Hospital in Raleigh.

Burns had been jailed on a first-degree murder charge at Central Prison in Raleigh for what officials said was "safe keeping" following the Nov. 8 death of Maxine Burns, 50.

She was found dead inside the couple's home at 2917 Cedarwood Drive in Durham. Police have not offered a motive for the crime.

Police said Timothy Burns had tried committing suicide after his wife's death and spent several days in a local hospital before he was taken to the Durham County Detention Facility.

"Mr. Burns had medical needs that were beyond our capability to provide, so he was sent to Central Prison," Deputy Paul Sherwin, a spokesman for the Durham County Sheriff's Office, said in a statement Monday.

Sherwin, however, could neither provide any information about what led to Timothy Burns being admitted to Rex nor comment on a cause of death.

Timothy Burns retired from the Durham Police Department in the late 1990s after about 15 years of service.

8 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • outhousecat Dec 3, 9:18 a.m.

    If it weren't for other posters copying and pasting, there would be no comments on here that go against WRAL's agenda. I don't even know why I bother to post here anymore. My comments are either deleted (after passing thru the moderator, I assume) or not posted at all. Sad that WRAL would rather push its agenda than promote free speech and rational debate.

  • GETOUT Dec 2, 5:12 p.m.

    I agree that law enforcement, teachers and clergy are held to a higher standard. But this guy was a cop 20 plus years ago!! And he could have been let go for DPD for doing something illegal, conduct unbecoming, etc. This article has little to do with him being a police officer as much as WRAL stirring the pot and trying to keep DPD in the negative spotlight as if this guy was just working there last week. This wouldnt even be newsworthy if he hadnt been a Durham officer 20 years ago!

  • anneonymousone Dec 2, 11:58 a.m.

    This is fdup, we often hear of former occupations if they are related to the (alleged) crime. A former bank CEO being arrested for embezzlement is a different sort of newsworthiness than if a person previously employed as a short-order cook were arrested for the same crime.

    As far as current occupations go, because law enforcement officers, clergy members, and teachers are often held to a high standard of conduct, their arrests are more frequently made more public than others for similar crimes.

    Many DJofRaleigh, I agree with you; there's nothing good in this case.

  • disgusted2010 Dec 2, 11:46 a.m.

    20-25 years ago this man was a police officer,what does that have to do with him killing his wife?
    this is fdup

    Its more of WRAL's anti-law enforcement agenda. You can bet if it was a WRAL employee who left 15 years ago there would have been no mention of their former employment.

  • djofraleigh Dec 2, 10:39 a.m.

    There's just nothing good about this...so sad.

    As for the comment "I will never understand the big rush to save suicidal murderers in jail/prison. I don't appreciate paying for their room and board for the next 50 years to start with, and I certainly don't like paying for the medical care that most citizens can't afford" -- well, when society locks up someone society is assuming all care for the person, and has to provide water, food, shelter and medical care. What the poster and we all don't like is the realities of PRISON, but in a complex society some people must be given external controls.

    As for the comment "On behalf of all tax paying citizens, thank you." I'll say the poster can't comment for us all, for I don't feel good about this.

  • Homeward Dec 2, 10:02 a.m.

    I feel so bad for the family members of this couple - such a tragedy on so many levels, and probably so many unanswered questions.

  • this is fdup Dec 2, 9:44 a.m.

    20-25 years ago this man was a police officer,what does that have to do with him killing his wife?

  • outhousecat Dec 2, 9:36 a.m.

    I will never understand the big rush to save suicidal murderers in jail/prison. I don't appreciate paying for their room and board for the next 50 years to start with, and I certainly don't like paying for the medical care that most citizens can't afford.