‘Markie’s Law,’ Intended To Keep Violent Inmates In Prison Longer, May Soon Reach Gov. Tom Wolf’s Desk

BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — One year ago Wednesday, a deadly stabbing stunned a local neighborhood.

New Castle police say Keith Burley stabbed 8-year-old Markie Mason more than 100 times.


(Photo Credit: Family of Mark Mason)


On the anniversary of the little boy’s death, a new law intends to honor his memory.


“My son’s a victim, yes, but my son’s a hero,” the boy’s father, Mark Mason, told KDKA last year. “And I want my son remembered as a hero, not a victim.”


Burley left the state after allegedly killing Markie and was finally handcuffed more than nine hours after the little boy’s death.


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“He just wasn’t strong enough,” Mark said. “How can an 8-year-old fight a 43-year-old man with a knife?”


Burley was released from prison on parole in March 2019, just a few months before Markie’s death.


But it is what Burley did inside the prison that sparked “Markie’s Law.”


(Photo Credit: KDKA)


“Markie’s Law is set up on a very basic principle and that is that violent criminals should remain behind bars,” Rep. Aaron Bernstein said.


Bernstein drafted the bill in Markie’s honor, wanting to keep violent offenders behind bars longer if they are convicted of a violent crime while in jail.


“If a prisoner commits an act of violence behind bars, they should be held accountable for that. And it would add two years onto their minimum sentence,” Rep. Bernstein said.


Two years to change, two years to get help, two years Markie didn’t get.


(Photo Credit: KDKA)


“Keith Burley was released from prison after committing numerous violent crimes behind bars,” Rep. Bernstein said. “We know that if this law was in place, he would have never of been out”


The bill has passed the state House and a Senate committee. The bill could soon reach the governor’s desk.


“We’re hopeful it gets done before summer break,” Rep. Bernstein said. “But if not, right when we come back in September, we look for this to be passed. And hopefully, the governor will sign this into law.”