1997 cold case killer sentenced to prison

The man who pleaded guilty to killing a Lennon woman more than 20 years ago was sentenced to at least a decade behind bars.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 12:05 PM EST
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LENNON, Mich. (WNEM) - A Michigan man who pleaded guilty to the 1997 assault and killing of an 88-year-old woman was sentenced to prison on Friday, Feb. 3.

Michael Bur was arrested in November 2021 for the murder of Mary Prieur. He was charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of kidnapping, and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Bur pleaded guilty to the charges of second-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct on Dec. 5. 2022. His kidnapping charge was dropped by prosecutors.

Police matched Bur’s DNA, which was taken in 1997 after Prieur’s body was found, to evidence found at the scene.

In November 2021, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said the solving of Prieur’s cold case is accredited to forensic evidence and DNA.

“Science is a great partner in solving cases, and that’s what we did,” he said.

Although Prieur’s murder case went cold, Swanson said it was always on his mind.

“I had this case assigned to me 21 years ago, and it took me across the country, following up leads, and interviews, and dead ends, and you just got to stay with it,” Swanson said.

Swanson said he is glad to finally see a decades-old case coming to a close.

“So it certainly wasn’t a surprise. This has been decades in the making,” Swanson said.

Prieur’s family is getting justice 26 years later.

“Today, we were able to get truth and time. And for that, they are grateful,” Swanson said.

Swanson said he’s pleased with Bur’s punishment.

“The family wanted the truth, and Michael Bur wanted to give the truth. So, it was a good resolution for everybody. Ten to 20 years, lifetime monitoring,” Swanson said.

Bur was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for his charge of second-degree murder, and 10 to 20 years for his charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Both sentences will run concurrently.

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