Defense attorney Pamela Ames speaks on behalf of her client, Richard Murray-Burns, seated, during a January 2020 court hearing in Skowhegan. Murray-Burns was later sentenced to decades in prison for a shootout with police that left an officer wounded. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

SKOWHEGAN — A Hartland man who was previously convicted of shooting a police officer and firing on several others during a 15-mile chase was sentenced last week to 30 years in prison after he had successfully appealed the initial sentence he was given.

Richard Murray-Burns, 33, was sentenced Thursday in a Skowhegan courtroom to 225 years in prison with all but the 30 years suspended, according to Maeghan Maloney, the district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties. The sentence came after he pleaded guilty in August 2021 to several charges, including multiple counts of aggravated attempted murder.

Superior Court Judge Bruce Mallonee handed down the same sentence that he had issued in March 2022. The sentence includes 20 years of probation once Murray-Burns completes his prison term.

“The short answer is that everything has stayed the same,” Maloney said. “What the judge wanted to do here was really combine public safety with compassion, and so he didn’t want to give Mr. Richard Murray-Burns a life sentence. Instead, he wanted him to initially serve 30 years, followed by 20 years of probation, with additional time hanging over his head if he is not successful on probation.”

Murray-Burns in December appealed his initial sentence, arguing that Mallonee erred by not properly justifying or explaining the sentence, and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court agreed.

While judges can order consecutive prison terms, they have to “make appropriate findings with record support,” essentially meaning that they have to justify why a crime is severe enough to warrant a longer sentence, according to briefs filed as part of the appeal.


Mallonee did not make that justification at the initial sentencing, meaning the entire sentence became invalid. Attempts to reach the judge Wednesday for comment were unsuccessful.

Maloney said the courtroom was “packed” Thursday with law enforcement officers from the region who attended to show support for the officers involved in the case.

“The entire courtroom was filled with not only the law enforcement officers whom experienced the gunfire from Mr. Richard Murray-Burns, but also the chief of police of Waterville, the chief of police of Skowhegan, and others who were there to support the people in their agencies who experienced this traumatic event,” she said.

Jennifer Cohen, Murray-Burns’ attorney, declined to comment on the sentencing.

Murray-Burns said during his trial in 2021 that he had taken LSD and was struggling with his mental health when he was pulled over in traffic by a Waterville officer on Dec. 22, 2019, after being accused of shoplifting food from Walmart. Murray-Burns shot and wounded the officer, Timothy Hinton, who was shot a second time as he then pursued the fleeing Murray-Burns.

Hinton’s patrol vehicle was struck 16 times by Murray-Burns as he was pursued by Hinton and Maine State Police troopers. Murray-Burns periodically stopped his vehicle to wait for officers to catch up before firing on them again.

The shootout ended after roughly 20 minutes and 15 miles later in Canaan. Murray-Burns was shot multiple times and was taken to a hospital where tests found that he had fentanyl and benzodiazepines in his system.

Prosecutors said the AR-15 pistol Murray-Burns used in the chase was heavily modified. Frank Griffin, Somerset County’s first assistant district attorney, said last year that Murray-Burns ground down the weapon’s magazine entry point to make the gun easier to reload and fire. He also attached several aftermarket modifications, including a binary trigger, a better scope and laser designator. Murray-Burns had also outfitted his car with a license plate shield and had donned a piece of body armor “far stronger” than what police officers are equipped with, Griffin said.

Murray-Burns pleaded guilty to 10 counts of aggravated attempted murder and single counts of failure to stop for an officer, theft by unauthorized taking and robbery. He is being held at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

Hinton recovered from his injuries and returned to patrol duty. He retired from the force last year.

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