Burcham acquittedMoorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - After spending almost two years behind bars a man accused in a 1993 murder in Moorhead is a free man tonight.
After two days of deliberations a jury has acquitted Clarence Burcham of killing Sharon Stafford. At the center of the case was Burcham's confession in 2009.
Burcham’s attorney says his client was put under tremendous pressure by police to get that confession. It came from a man who prosecutors say is of below average intelligence and who in early 2010 was temporarily deemed not competent to stand trial.
Deborah Burcham – Burcham’s Sister: "You always told me you were innocent and we finally got to show it. Yep."
Clarence "Mike" Burcham walks out of the Clay County Courthouse, plastic bag holding all his possessions in hand, a free man. It's a day his sister says she knew she would see.
Deborah Burcham: "I knew it was gonna come out like this, I knew it was gonna come out good cause he ain't the one who did it."
Prosectors says Burcham did confess two years ago to raping and strangling Sharon Stafford in 1993. It was Burcham who reported her death the morning after a party at his next-door home in the Dulsky trailer park. But there was *no* forensic evidence linking him to the slaying. And the jury took note finding him not guilty on all charges.
Tracy Eichhorn-Hicks – Burcham’s Attorney: "I feel tremendous sympathy for Sharon Stafford's family, um but I’m glad that Mike Burcham didn't have to pay the price for it."
As for Sharon Staffords sisters?
Heidi Davies – Clay County Attorney: "This has been a very, very difficult process they've waited a long time for some closure in this matter so this is very hard on them."
As for Burcham , he spent nearly two years behind bars. On his way to freedom, the man of few words had this to say about hearing his not guilty verdict.
Clarence Burcham: “Feels good. Yep” “How's it feel to go home?” “Feels good to go home haha."
The police investigation in this case of the 26 year old victim, a reported prostitute, did reveal the DNA of three men, none of them known suspects. If one of them was the killer, we may never know.