High school sweethearts raised an ‘ideal family’ and were fixtures in Ellicott City, Md. Then, police say, an estranged brother came calling

BALTIMORE Brian Robinette and Kelly Sue Robinette were high school sweethearts. They had a happy family in Ellicott, Maryland.
Their son was a college graduate, and their daughter was a close second. Photos of happy family portraits at sunset and scenic beaches were posted by the couple.

Brian Robinette (58) was considering retiring from his job in Severna Park as a Walgreens pharmacist. Jerome Jerry Robinette (83), is Brian's father. He and Kelly Robinette (57), began to think about their future. They knew that their tight-knit family would not allow them to leave Maryland.

The life of Brian's half-brother Jeffrey Burnham was changing back home in Cumberland. He had cut all ties with Jeffrey many years ago.

He lived with Evelyn Burnham and their children in a small brick house. His bedroom was secured and he told his mother that the FBI was after him. Evelyn Burnham stated to the Cumberland police that she was worried. His appearance was disorganized and his poor manners were noted by neighbors. He allegedly screamed at children outside playing in the narrow street on Sept. 27, or 28, according to neighbors.

On Thursday, September 30, half-brothers from different families met in a fatal encounter. Jeffrey Burnham, 46, was accused of driving to Ellicott city and shooting down Kelly Robinette and her mother, Rebecca Reynolds (83), police say. Their bodies were discovered with gunshot wounds in their upstairs bedrooms, and their red Corvette was gone.

A manhunt lasted 18 hours, and Jeffrey Burnhams was captured in Davis, West Virginia.

He told a firefighter at The Billy Motel & Bar that he had been forced to kill three people.

Burnham also expressed dissatisfaction about Brian Robinettes' work as a pharmacist who administered coronavirus vaccinations to Burnham. One person, not identified in his charges, was the one Burnham told. He said that his half-brother was killing people using the COVID shot.

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The Robinette family in Cumberland and Ellicott City is left to grieve for their seemingly unpredicted and unforeseeable loss. They were puzzled as to why Brian Robinette, a half-brother who they had never seen in person, had claimed the couple's lives.

Jerome Robinette of Cumberland said, "He was a great dad and I wouldnt have a better son than he had in me." He also didn't father Burnhams son Brian.

His daughter broke the news to him by phone on Sept. 29.

He said that he was a broken father. It is not easy to lose a son.

Kelly Robinettes' West Virginia family is also in shock.

She was outgoing. She always had a smile on the face. Todd Miller said that his older sister was always happy. They had a happy life.

Carrie Robinette (niece of Brian Robinette), lives in Glen Burnie and said it was still unbelievable. Kelly and Brian are amazing people.

Many family members claim that they are still trying to figure out why Burnham targeted their brother, whom they claimed he had been estranged from over the past few years.

Carrie Robinette stated that they didn't speak for a while.

She said that Burnham's withdrawal from the other children was to blame. She said that she was curious if Burnham, who remained with his mother, harbored jealousy over his brother, who had a successful life in Ellicott.

She said that he was smart and successful, and that everyone loved him.

Kelly Robinette and Brian Robinette attended Fort Hill High School where Kelly graduated in 1981. Jerome Robinette said that Brian then went on to complete two more years of pre-pharmacy education at Allegany Community College, before he attended the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Pharmacy. After he graduated from Allegany Community College in 1986, they got married and settled in Ellicott City.

According to state property records, the couple bought their Kerger Road home in 1996. Police found them dead last week.

Brian Robinette was hired by Walgreens on Ritchie Highway in Severna Park. However, all questions were directed to the corporate offices by the staff. Robinette Family Home, Thursday afternoon: A man who met a reporter refused to answer any questions.

Jerome Robinette stated that his daughter-in law and son-in-law could not have children so they adopted two children. They hosted close-knit family gatherings at home and played sports together.

Jerome Robinette stated that it was an ideal family. He described them both as inseparable partners. Kelly Robinette has never been in a relationship with an enemy, he said. She was exactly like Brian. They were the perfect match.

Although the Robinettes had close ties with Cumberland and visited regularly, Jerome Robinette stated that Brian would not visit his mother.

Jerome Robinette stated that he ended the relationship with her because he didn't know why. He would not make it a point to visit her when he came to town. My other children would.

While Brian and his mother seemed to be drifting apart, Burnham was also becoming more distant from the other members in recent years.

Carrie Robinette stated that Jeffrey Burnham was far from her half-siblings. He also appeared different from the rest. He believed conspiracy theories for a long time, she said.

He is very quiet when I'm around him. She said that he was a bit of an oddball.

She said that her aunt Kelly (not her uncle Brian Robinette) had lobbyed for their mother to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, but Jeffrey Burnham opposed it.

According to the family, they are still searching for answers as to why Burnham killed Reynolds.

Im wondering myself, Carrie Robinette said. It was all difficult for us to grasp.

Reynolds' neighbors described Reynolds as a petite, independent woman who loved her dogs but had a strong spirit. They claimed she would have put up a fight.

According to charges documents, Reynolds was found dead at her Cumberland residence by paramedics. She had a deep cut across her throat and had a pillow covering her face. According to court papers, Cumberland Police identified signs of a struggle.

According to a family obituary, Reynolds graduated Fort Hill High School in 1956 with Evelyn Burnham. She continued her education at Western Maryland College for her undergrad degree and George Washington University for her masters of education. She taught in Virginia for 35 year.

According to police, Reynolds was killed after he drove her SUV to Ellicott city. Carrie Robinette claimed that her grandmother Evelyn Burnham had a car and asked why Jeffrey Burnham would kill her.

Evelyn Burnham couldn't be reached for comment. She expressed her grief over the deaths of one son, who was violently attacked and another sent to prison in a previous interview with The Sun. She expressed regret for Jeffrey Burnham's actions and concerns about his mental state.

According to online court records, Jeffrey Burnham's attorneys filed a motion for competency evaluation. A judge from Allegany County District Court signed an order allowing mental health professionals to assess whether the defendant can defend himself and how well he understands the court system.

Mr. Burnham is presumed innocent. Michael Allan Stankan (one of Burnhams lawyers with the county public defenses office) said that he is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. We are currently meeting with our client to review the evidence.

Jeffrey Burnham is facing first-degree murder charges and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle in Allegany County. He is currently being held at the county's detention center. Although he has not been charged with the Robinettes deaths at Ellicott, Howard County police indicated that he will be.

Miller stated that he and his family still struggle to understand what happened.

It's surreal, according to Kelly Robinettes, brother of Miller.

Miller now imagines a future without his older sibling.

He said that even though she was from a different country, their families always got together for holidays, even though they lived in the same state.

They won't be the same.


This article was contributed by Tim Prudente, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.