LONDON, Ky. (AP) — A woman whose mother was killed decades ago says she was angry to learn that the Georgia man convicted of the crime went into hiding in Kentucky for nearly 40 years and is still alive.
Billy Burchfield was arrested last month in London, Kentucky, where he had lived since escaping a Georgia prison in 1979. He had been serving a sentence for voluntary manslaughter in the death of Vera Sue Burchfield.
The victim’s daughter, Janice Smith, told WTVC-TV in Chattanooga that before the shooting in the early 1970s, her mother planned to make Burchfield leave the home. The couple had been fighting.
“My momma had enough of him and she packed his bags, was going to make him leave, and that’s when all it started,” Smith recalled.
She said Burchfield shot her mother in their house.
Smith was outraged to find he was still alive, and had been living in hiding in a small Appalachian town.
“I let it go when I thought he was dead, but then when I found out he was alive — oh, I got mad,” Smith said.
Police caught up with Burchfield in mid-June. The 67-year-old had been living under an assumed name, Harold Arnold, which he took from a cousin who had died. Burchfield was serving a 16-year sentence for manslaughter when he escaped 37 years ago.
A tip from law enforcement in Jackson County, Georgia, led Kentucky police to the suspect.
Police said Burchfield kept a low profile and had no criminal record in Kentucky.
Burchfield is being extradited back to Georgia.