By Darrell Todd Maurina
The lawyer for the man accused of shooting a Clovis police officer in December 2002 asked the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office to offer him a plea bargain during a Monday pretrial conference, District Attorney Brett Carter said.
Court records show Timothy Michael Burke, 52, faces charges of aggravated battery upon a peace officer resulting in great bodily harm, three counts of assault with intent to commit a violent felony upon a peace officer, resisting, evading or obstructing a peace officer, and possession of a controlled substance. All the charges stem from a December 2002 incident in which Burke is accused of shooting Officer Keith Bessette and was himself shot when police returned fire.
“We told him the case was ready to go to trial and his lawyer made a request that we send him a plea offer on the case to determine whether he would plead guilty to some of the charges,” Carter said. “The evidence in that case is fairly overwhelming that he was the individual who fired the shots and hit Officer Bessette.”
Buke’s attorney, Jim Wilson of the public defender’s office, could not be reached for comment.
Carter said the case was made more difficult because of Burke’s medical condition. Carter said Burke is in a rehabilitation facility in Roswell, and even if convicted may stay there.
“We have an offender who is paralyzed down from the neck for life and he may want to get it over with, but there is not much we can do to him,” Carter said. “If he is sent to the Department of Corrections they may furlough him out or send him to a medical facility. The DOC indicated that he had so many medical problems they couldn’t care for him in the DOC and wanted him in a medical facility.
“There’s not much he can do to reoffend because he has no mobility from the neck down,” Carter said. “Even though he is in this paralyzed state he does still need to face legal consequences, even if it is just getting that felony conviction on his record. Either way, the taxpayers are probably going to be picking up the bill for his care.”