Father pushing for new parole law after 8-year-old son is killed, legislation heads to Harrisburg

HARRISBURG — When you look at a picture of Markie Mason, his 8-year-old personality jumps out.

“He was excited to get up in the morning, he loved life,” said Markie’s father, Mark Mason.

Mason said his son’s life was cut short when he was stabbed by Keith Burley, his mother’s new boyfriend.

“Apparently they got into an argument in the car after she picked my children up from me, and one thing led to another. She jumped out of the car and he took off with my kids, and I got notified the next morning my son was gone,” Mason said.

That was in July 2019. Since then, Mason has mourned and healed as he tried to figure out what went wrong.

“Just because you go to prison, you don’t get a free pass and get to assault people while you are in prison; and had Keith Burley been held accountable for the assaults he committed in prison, my son would still be alive today,” Mason said.

Burley was only out on parole a few months when Markie was killed. Current law doesn’t add any extra time to a sentence for violent assaults while in jail, but that’s what Markie’s law would change.

“Our legislation ensures that if someone commits a violent crime in prison or in jail, that they serve at least 24 months beyond their sentence date,” said state Rep. Aaron Bernstine.

With votes from both the Senate and House, the last step is a signature from the governor, and he has seven more days to sign.

“Markie would say this is a law that should be there, but somebody didn’t have to die for this law to be there,” Mason said.

As for Burley, the case has not gone to trial yet.

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