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Suspected Serial Killer Charged In 1989 Inkster Murder

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Keith Burns (Booking Photo)

Keith Burns (Booking Photo)

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INKSTER (WWJ) - A convicted murderer and possible serial killer who was eligible for parole this year will be spending more time behind bars.

Keith Burns has been sitting in jail since 1995, serving a 20 year prison sentence after being convicted of second degree murder in Westland. He was eligible for parole this year, that is until DNA evidence linked him to a cold case murder investigation in Inkster.

The body of 28-year-old Linette Bolding was found outside a vacant house in the 28000 block of Cherry Street in Inkster on Sept. 27, 1989. Bolding’s body was half naked, bound with phone cords around her neck and her hands behind her back. An autopsy showed she had been sexually assaulted, strangled and smothered. With little evidence and few leads to go on, the investigation into Bolding’s death eventually ran cold.

Then, in 2005, detectives pouring over cold case files discovered that Bolding’s death wasn’t necessarily unique. In the 19 months surrounding Bolding’s death, five other women died in a similar manner:

  • Rachel Taylor died June 1, 1988 of strangulation and blunt force trauma
  • Glenda Tatum died Feb. 28, 1989 of manual and ligature strangulation
  • Kim Shorter died June 14, 1989 of manual strangulation and asphyxia
  • Crystal Perkins died Oct. 27, 1989 of ligature strangulation
  • Renee Kendricks died Jan. 1, 1990 of strangulation and smoke inhalation (body burned)

Taking a second look at these homicides, detectives sent DNA evidence to the Michigan State Police Lab in Northville to be tested for the first time. The analysis showed that DNA collected in 1989 linked Tatum and Bolding to the same suspect. It would be another few years however, before that suspect was identified.

In 2007, a DNA match linked a convicted murderer to both cases and luckily, he was easy to find: Burns was at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia, serving a 20 year sentence for strangling a Westland woman in 1995. But their case wasn’t strong enough and time was beginning to run out, as Burns was eligible for parole in 2013.

Investigators spent the next several years performing more tests on DNA and looking for further evidence that would rule out other suspects. They were also tasked with proving that Burns was in the Inkster area all those years ago. When investigators finally thought their case was strong enough, they presented it to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, who in turn charged Burns with Bolding’s murder.

On Feb. 8, 2013 Burns plead guilty to second degree murder. In exchange, charges of first degree murder and felony murder were dropped. Weeks later, Burns was sentenced to serve an additional 23 to 50 years for Bolding’s murder.

Investigators say Burns is still considered a suspect in the other murders, but charges can’t be filed in Tatum’s death due to a Supreme Court ruling that requires the medical examiner who performed the original autopsy to testify to the cause and manner of death in a murder charge. Records show the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Tatum died several years ago.

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