Durham cop accused of killing wife dies in Raleigh hospital

rgallagher@newsobserver.comDecember 2, 2013 

— A former Durham police officer accused of murdering his wife last month died Friday at a Raleigh hospital, the state Department of Public Safety said Monday.

Timothy W. Burns, 51, died at the hospital where he had been taken from Central Prison on Nov. 26, said department spokeswoman Pam Walker.

Walker would not disclose which hospital had admitted Burns or why he was taken there, but Durham County authorities said he had been in Rex Hospital.

Walker said Burns’ body has been taken to the Office of the State Medical Examiner and that no cause of death had been determined as of Monday.

Burns was charged with killing Maxine Burns, 50, whose body was found Nov. 8 at her home at 2917 Cedarwood Drive. He was taken to a hospital that night after what police said appeared to have been a suicide attempt.

He was moved to the Durham County Jail on Nov. 12.

Walker said Durham County officials had issued a safekeeping order under which a prisoner is moved to a state facility because a county says it cannot guarantee his well-being.

Durham sheriff’s spokesman Paul Sherwin said Burns was transferred to Central Prison shortly after he was booked into the Durham County jail on the murder charge.

“Mr. Burns had medical needs that were beyond our capability to provide, so he was sent to Central Prison,” Sherwin said.

Walker said there can be a variety of reasons for a county to issue a safekeeping order, and she declined to discuss specifically why Burns was moved to Raleigh.

Burns was a Durham officer for 16 years, before retiring in 1999 after he was hurt in a car accident.

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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