Escapee captured after 9 days when dog bark alerted couple pleads guilty in Pennsylvania

WARREN, Pa. (AP) — A homicide suspect who escaped from a northwestern Pennsylvania prison and was on the run for more than a week before a pet dog led to his recapture in July pleaded guilty on Thursday for the escape and to kidnapping a Pennsylvania couple.

Michael Burham, 34, awaits sentencing in January. His defense lawyer declined comment after the hearing Thursday.

He had been accused of kidnapping an older couple in Pennsylvania and driving them to South Carolina to evade a murder investigation in New York when he escaped from the Warren County jail, about 66 miles (105 kilometers) east of Erie.

Authorities said he climbed from exercise equipment to a grated metal roof and slid down a rope that he had made of bedsheets.

During his time on the lam, police described Burham as “a self-taught survivalist with military experience," warning he could be dangerous.

He evaded authorities for nine days before a couple responding to their barking dog encountered him. They contacted police and Burham was recaptured about two hours later.

His escape came just months before another high-profile incident in southeastern Pennsylvania, where a murderer evaded authorities for nearly two weeks.