Crime

Thurston man held without bail after his wife was shot dead and stepson was wounded

Deputies investigate shooting death north of Olympia

Lt. Tim Rudloff of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office talks about the suspected domestic-violence related shooting death of a 72-year-old woman at her home near South Bay Road.
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Lt. Tim Rudloff of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office talks about the suspected domestic-violence related shooting death of a 72-year-old woman at her home near South Bay Road.

A woman was shot and killed at her home north of Olympia on Thursday, and her husband is being held without bail on suspicion of murder.

The woman was identified as Edna Burcham, 72, Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said.

On Friday, her husband, Randall Jerome Burcham, 73, appeared in Thurston County Superior Court, where Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax found probable cause for the charges of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder.

Burcham was ordered to have no contact with his wife’s family and to surrender all his weapons.

Arraignment was set for May 21.

Prosecutor Jeffery Lippert argued that given the charges, both of which could mean life in prison, and Burcham’s history that he should be held without bail.

Lippert said the suspect was arrested a decade ago on domestic violence related charges but that those were dismissed after he completed a court program.

“Now here we are 10 years later with another victim, another female victim,” he said.

Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies responded about 4:30 p.m. Thursday to the Burcham’s home on the 1900 block of Meixner Street Northeast. Edna Burcham had called 911 to report she was being attacked by her husband and he had broken her phone.

“When deputies arrived ... they located Randall Burcham standing shirtless, stoic, staring blankly, and unresponsive to any questions,” according to the Sheriff’s Office’s preliminary report.

Once inside, they found Edna Burcham slumped over in a chair on the patio with at least one gunshot wound to the chest. They searched the home and found her adult son, his stepson, who also had been shot.

The man told told deputies he witnessed the shooting and that Burcham then shot him, hitting him twice before he locked himself in the bathroom.

He was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was listed in serious condition on Friday afternoon.

Law enforcement had responded to a domestic violence call at the same address a decade ago involving Burcham and another woman.

Burcham’s wife at that time was issued a restraining order against him and, in court documents, accused him of repeated domestic violence. She said he would stop her from calling 911, and had destroyed her cellphone at least twice in two months.

They divorced in 2011.

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Abby Spegman joined The Olympian in 2017. She covers the city of Olympia and a little bit of everything else. She previously worked at newspapers in Oregon, New Hampshire and Hawaii.
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