In reading one of Ann Rule’s Crime Files: Volume 6, I was struck by a similarity to the Stacey Burns case. “Amy Shaw” (A fictitious name) was shot to death in front of her seven year old daughter in September, 1974. She had repeatedly told friends and relatives that her ex-husband was going to kill her. She had even given instructions to her daughter on how to contact the police “if Daddy shoots me.” It is a heartbreaking tale. Rule says that “Amy” couldn’t have him arrested; police can’t arrest a man for something he intends to do.
As I interviewed people for Murder in a Small Town: The Tragic Death of Stacey Burns, I found a number of Stacey’s friends who said Stacey had told them that should she be killed, it would be at the hand of her ex-husband. Her worst fear, one friend said, was what might happen to her children if she was killed. Of course, the 20/20 program about this case explained Ed Burns’ alibi so Stacey’s fears appear to have been baseless.
Thirty eight years apart, two women with similar premonitions and both living in fear, are brutally murdered. As mentioned, I was struck by the similarity. I also was struck by a difference. Six months after her murder, “Amy Shaw’s” killer was in the state penitentiary. Almost four years later, Stacey Burns’ murderer continues to walk free.