Gratiot County, Michigan: 45-year-old Tony Burke has plead not guilty by reason of insanity to the January 27, 2021 murder of his wife, 29-year-old Jessica Burke.
Burke has been charged with open murder and a felony firearms charge, and even admitted to the police that he shot Jessica three times, but two psychological evaluations determined that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the murder.
"He could tell me why he was in jail," attorney Sarah Huyser told WJRT. "He could tell me what my job was, the judge's job, the prosecutor's job. He's an articulate and intelligent man."
Huyser has represented Burke since his arrest in January 2021, and expressed belief that the findings of the psychologists was correct and that her client had a history of unspecified mental illness.
During the investigation Burke had reportedly told officers that he had a "neuro-link" implanted in his brain at a Grand Rapids hospital.
"He said that other people could read his thoughts," Gratiot County Prosecutor Keith Kushion said.
Burke would allegedly also receive messages on his tablet device from QAnon members. Some of those messages informed him that his wife was actually a CIA asset that was involved in a sex trafficking ring and that he needed to kill her.
"He also said that Joe Biden had twins, a daughter and a son, and that the son had a sex change and that's who his wife was," Kushion reported.
"He believed them," Huyser said. "They may sound illogical to us. They may, when we hear them, we are thinking that's crazy for lack of a better way to say that, but imagine being in the mindset where all of that is very real and very scary."
29th Circuit Court Judge Shannon Schlegel ordered Burke to undergo additional tests and treatment at the Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti for up to 60 days. At the conclusion of that period, it will be determined if he will be sent to a state mental health facility.
"A lot is going to depend on where those delusions are and where that mental illness is," Huyser said.