Two couples fatally shot while camping in different countries more than 30 years apart may have been victims of the same man: a drifter who authorities say was a religious zealot and disapproved of relationships between unmarried couples.
Joseph Henry Burgess, who died in a shootout with New Mexico sheriff's deputies last week, had been wanted in Canada as a suspect in the murders of two university students who were fatally shot on a Vancouver Island beach June 21, 1972.
Investigators in Sonoma County, Calif., also wanted to talk to him. The fatal shootings of two camp counsellors whose bodies were found on a Jenner beach Aug. 18, 2004, bore a striking resemblance to the crime up north.
Little is known about Burgess, but authorities say the New Jersey native moved in the 1960s to Canada to avoid the draft. During his time there, he lived in a religious commune and called himself Job, in reference to the biblical figure, said Dan Creally, a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who helped investigate the 1972 slayings.
Ann Durrant, 20, and Lief Karlsson, 21, were shot multiple times in the head at point blank range in their sleeping bag on Vancouver Island, according to Canadian police.
Creally said a woman on the beach told authorities that she had seen Burgess cleaning a .22 calibre rifle - the same type of weapon used in the killings - and said Burgess had told her he disapproved of Durrant and Karlsson's relationship because they were unmarried.
A police dog discovered Burgess' belongings, including his identification card and passages from the Bible he had written out, ripped up and discarded near the scene of the murders, Creally said. His fingerprint was also at the scene.
Joseph Henry Burgess, yahoo news 21 Comments
[7/31/2009 12:18:33 PM]
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