Man waives extradition to Pa. for homicide charge
Burley charged in boy’s stabbing death
By Joe Gorman
When Billy Greenawalt was asked Thursday by a reporter in the Mahoning County Courthouse if he would still stand by a friend accused of stabbing an 8-year-old boy to death, a woman close by didn’t hesitate to say, “I do.”
Reporters and cameras then turned to Kyla Costa. She said Keith Burley, 43, the suspect who just waived extradition before Judge John Durkin to face a criminal homicide charge in Pennsylvania, was her first boyfriend.
Burley was released almost immediately to detectives from Troop D of the Pennsylvania State Police New Castle Barracks to return to New Castle to face charges in the death of Mark Mason, 8. The boy died late Monday in Union Township after Burley had been in an argument with the boy’s mother, who was his girlfriend.
Greenawalt was in court to watch the hearing as the man he called a childhood friend very emphatically told Judge Durkin he was waiving his right to an extradition hearing.
The jury box was stuffed with television cameras and reporters from the Pittsburgh region, along with a local media contingent.
After court, reporters cornered Greenawalt against a railing outside the clerk of courts office, where he told them he was “shocked” to hear of the charges against his old friend.
Burley has served 20 years in prison for a murder he committed during a 1999 robbery and was recently paroled. Greenawalt said he had recently talked to Burley, who told him he had a job and that he was being treated well.
Vindicator files show that Burley was sentenced in the death of Kevin Stewart, 26, of Greenwood Avenue in New Castle at a Halco Drive housing project in a robbery during a drug deal.
It was hard to hear the soft-spoken Greenawalt but not so Costa, who stressed repeatedly that while she does not condone what Burley is accused of doing, she said people need to realize there were “other factors” involved in the case.
When pressed about what those factors were, she said Burley has a mental illness, was off his medication and was institutionalized after spending 20 years in prison. “Honestly, I don’t condone anything he did; it’s horrible,” Costa said. “But there are so many factors in this that I hope people consider this.”
She estimated that Burley has been violent for “half his life.”
“He’s always been a little off,” Costa said.
Costa said Burley’s family is out of town and could not attend the hearing, so she decided to attend.