Man pleads guilty in kidnapping case and prison escape

This image provided by Pennsylvania State Police shows homicide suspect Michael Burham after he was recaptured on July 15, 2023.
Pennsylvania State Police via AP

A homicide suspect who escaped from a northwestern Pennsylvania prison and was on the run for more than a week before a pet dog led to his recapture in July pleaded guilty for the escape and to kidnapping a Pennsylvania couple.

Michael Burham, 34, awaits sentencing in January. His defense lawyer declined comment after the hearing last week.

He had been accused of kidnapping an older couple in Pennsylvania and driving them to South Carolina to evade a murder investigation in New York when he escaped from the Warren County jail, about 66 miles east of Erie.

Authorities said he climbed from exercise equipment to a grated metal roof and slid down a rope that he had made of bedsheets.

During his time on the lam, police described Burham as “a self-taught survivalist with military experience,” warning he could be dangerous.

He evaded authorities for nine days before a couple responding to their barking dog encountered him. They contacted police and Burham was recaptured about two hours later.

His escape came just months before another high-profile incident in southeastern Pennsylvania, where a murderer evaded authorities for nearly two weeks.