NEW CASTLE (KDKA) — Police in New Castle say an 8-year-old boy died Monday night at the hands of a previously-convicted murderer.
Keith Burley, 43, faces charges of homicide, aggravated assault and kidnapping after police say he stabbed Mark “Markie” Mason to death inside a Union Township home late Monday night, police said.
On Wednesday, the boy’s father sat down with KDKA’s Meghan Schiller.
Mark Mason said he warned his children’s mother to not allow Burley, her new boyfriend, around his children.
Burley was paroled in March after being sentenced for third-degree murder back in 1999.
“I want my son remembered a hero and not a victim,” Mason said.
Markie’s father said he wants his son to be remembered for who he was and not for what happened to him.
“I want everyone to know that my son fought,” Mason said. “My son fought him, and he just wasn’t strong enough. How can an 8-year-old fight a 43-year-old man with a knife?”
Mason reached out to KDKA to tell Markie’s story and to talk about the heroic actions of Markie’s younger brother, 7-year-old Matthew.
“You tried and you got away and you threw a chair at him. I’m so proud of you,” Mason said as he pulled Matthew in for a kiss.
Mason said he wants the community to see his young son. He also want to acknowledge how Matthew did everything to help his older brother during the attack.
“My kids did everything I taught them to do,” Mason said. “I told them if anything like that happened, ‘Markie, you protect your mum, and you protect your brother. And Matthew, you run and get help and don’t you stop running until you find somebody.'”
State troopers say that’s exactly what Matthew did. He ran out of the home on High Street and didn’t stop running until he found an adult.
“What did you say to the people when you ran to get help?” Schiller asked Matthew.
“I said that my brother got hurt,” Matthew said.
Troopers said Burley chased after Matthew, but eventually gave up and headed to Youngstown, Ohio.
Markie died a short time after the attack from his wounds.
“Markie was so smart,” Mason said. “Even at a young age, he picked up on stuff kids his age shouldn’t have picked up on.”
Markie leaves behind eight siblings, including two siblings who currently live in Syria, and six siblings under the age of 9 years old.
Just one day later, Markie’s father said he’s already missing the little things about his son.
“He loved playing outside and I never thought I’d miss his whining, but yesterday I missed his whining so bad,” Mason said.
Mason said Markie was a fun-loving boy who showed strength and bravery when he fought back.
“That cost my son his life, but he fought,” Mason said.
The boy’s alleged killer, Burley, will go before the judge Thursday morning in Youngstown. He will then be extradited to Lawrence County.
KDKA News will be in Youngstown for his hearing and will post updates as this story develops.
Watch the emotional interview with Mason tonight on KDKA-TV News at 5 p.m.
A GoFundMe established to help the family can be found here.