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A Maryland man was charged with multiple murders after allegedly killing his brother and sister-in-law because he thought his brother, a pharmacist, was “killing people with the COVID shot,” according to charging documents obtained by the Baltimore Sun.
Jeffrey Burnham, 46, is accused of stabbing to death 83-year-old family friend Rebecca Reynolds in Cumberland, Maryland, and stealing her car on Sept. 29. The following day, he drove nearly two hours to Ellicott City, Maryland, where his brother, 58-year-old Brian Robinette, lived with his wife Kelly Sue Robinette, 57, and allegedly shot and killed them both, according to the Sun and WUSA9.
Robinette administered the COVID vaccine through his work as a pharmacist. “He wanted to confront Brian with the government poisoning people with COVID vaccines,” the charging documents say, and he “repeatedly” told his mother, “Brian knows something!”
Burnham was later arrested at a motel in Davis, West Virginia after telling a firefighter that he “had been forced to kill three people.”
Burnham’s 83-year-old mother, Evelyn Burnham, called police on the day of Reynolds’ death to express concerns about her son’s “mental stability” after he made comments that the FBI was “after” them, the Sun previously reported.
On Sept. 30—the same day Jeffrey Burnham allegedly killed his brother and brother’s wife—she again called Cumberland police after becoming concerned about her son mentioning “Becky’s car,” referring to Reynolds, her friend and high school classmate.
The allegations against Jeffrey Burnham are the latest example of violence involving vaccine and COVID-19 disputes. In August, a 68-year-old Goreville, Illinois man allegedly shot and killed his half-brother following an argument over the COVID-19 vaccine. And that same month, an elementary school student’s father attacked a teacher after becoming furious that his daughter was wearing a mask while coming out of school.
The violence is at the extreme end of the increasingly politicized, contentious, and fraught debate over the pandemic and vaccines—particularly as governments and companies have begun to require vaccination as a term of employment and public health restrictions such as mask mandates have remained in place or been reimplemented.
In particular, conservative media figures and politicians from local school boards to Congress and the upper levels of state governments have pushed unfounded claims that the vaccine is ineffective or dangerous, and that scientifically-backed public health measures are a threat to freedom.
Burnham is being held without bond in Allegany County. His mother told the Sun that she was “so, so sorry... I lost two boys and a friend and a daughter-in-law.”
“I just hope they found out what went wrong in his head,” Evelyn Burnham told the Sun.