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Man who escaped Pennsylvania jail by sliding down tied bedsheets gets 25 to 50 years on kidnapping, escape convictions

Michael Charles Burham escaped from a jail in northern Pennsylvania on July 7, 2023, by sliding down tied-up bedsheets. He was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison for the escape and a kidnapping. (Provided Photo/CNN/Warren Police Department)

(CNN) — A man who escaped a Pennsylvania county jail last year using tied-up bedsheets has been sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison after convictions on charges relating to the escape and a kidnapping, the state attorney general announced on Friday.

Michael Burham, who pleaded guilty to charges in the two cases in November, was sentenced to three and a half to seven years in prison specifically for his July escape from the Warren County Prison in northwestern Pennsylvania, Attorney General Michelle Henry said.

Burham, while being held at the jail in part on kidnapping allegations, climbed on workout equipment to access a roof and shimmied down a rope of sheets to escape on July 6, authorities said. The escape of Burham, who authorities said had military reserve experience and survivalist skills, prompted an intense manhunt with more than 200 law enforcement officers before he was captured in a wooded area near Warren, Pennsylvania, later that month.

Before his escape, Burham was jailed on charges related to allegations he kidnapped an older couple in Pennsylvania and drove them to South Carolina while trying to evade a separate investigation in New York, authorities said.

In the kidnapping case, a judge has ordered a sentence of 21 years and eight months to 43 years and four months, Henry’s office said Friday.

The two sentences, taken together, mean Burham has been ordered to serve from 25 years and two months to 50 years and four months in prison, Henry’s office said.

“The defendant used all possible means to escape the consequences of his actions,” Henry said in a release. “Today, thanks to hard work and collaboration between our office and the Pennsylvania State Police, the Warren County District Attorney’s Office, and the City of Warren Police Department, Michael Burham will be held accountable for his many crimes.”

CNN has tried to contact an attorney listed for Burham for comment.

Nic F. Anderson contributed to this report.