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Man Accused of Rape Kills Sheriff, Shoots Self, Police Say

March 19, 1992

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ A sheriff was shot and killed Wednesday when he tracked down a man who had disappeared during a recess in his rape trial, police said. The man then shot and seriously wounded himself.

Flem Burchett, 63, had been accused of second-degree rape. A jury was selected Wednesday morning in Johnson Circuit Court but Burchett failed to reappear for the afternoon session, when opening statements were to begin, and a judge issued a warrant for him.

Johnson County Sheriff Cecil Cyrus and other officers went to Burchett’s home, about eight miles from Paintsville, state police spokesman Ghomer Prater said. He said Burchett shot Cyrus and then turned the gun on himself.

Cyrus died later at a hospital. Burchett was hospitalized in serious condition.

Paintsville is in eastern Kentucky about 90 miles east of Lexington.

-03-18-92 2117EST

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