A Washougal man was sentenced Friday in Clark County Superior Court to 25 years in prison for a domestic hostage call that ended in his wife’s stabbing death.
Robert W. Burdick, 56, began sobbing as Linda Burdick’s family described the suffering her death has caused them. The large family, along with members of Robert Burdick’s family, nearly filled Judge David Gregerson’s courtroom to capacity.
The victim’s mother, Becky Mohagen, said she saw her daughter on Father’s Day 2019, two days before the murder. Linda Burdick, 49, told her parents about some issues at home, but she assured them, “Bobby would never hurt me,” Mohagen recalled.
“The next words we heard were, ‘Help me. He’s going to kill me,’ ” the mother said.
Robert Burdick pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree domestic violence murder. He faced a sentencing range of 240 to 320 months. Defense attorney Louis Byrd Jr. said his client, family and the state were asking for a mid-range sentence of 280 months, or about 23 years.
In imposing the lengthier sentence, Gregerson described the slaying as “significant savagery.” The judge told the courtroom that public health research shows domestic violence is one of the most serious risks to human life in the state, nation and world.
“It’s hard to think of a more tragic ending,” Gregerson said.
Robert Burdick killed Linda Burdick in the early morning hours of June 18 at their Washougal apartment. He called 911 at 2:05 a.m. from an apartment complex in the 600 block of West Lookout Ridge Drive. He said he was armed with butcher knives and holding his wife hostage in their home, according to the Washougal Police Department.
Court records show he told an emergency dispatcher that he’d been drinking and wanted police to shoot him.
Officers responded to the couple’s residence and spotted a light shining from the window of a third-story apartment. Linda Burdick opened the window and yelled for help as officers approached the building. Robert Burdick, who was holding a knife over his head, pulled her away, police said.
When officers entered the apartment, they heard Linda Burdick yelling for help. As officers ascended a flight of interior stairs, Robert Burdick appeared at the top of the staircase with his hands up, court records say.
Police found Linda Burdick lying on a bed with stab wounds to her neck, chest and arms. A bloody knife was found near her. She died shortly before 7 a.m. at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver after undergoing emergency surgery.
During Friday’s hearing, Matt Mohegan said he spent the morning listening to songs the family played at his sister’s funeral service, and he found himself still in disbelief that she is no longer alive.
“You have changed this family in the worst way ever. … I have watched the strongest people break down. We’re totally lost and filled with anger for you, but we’re trying to keep it together and care for (Linda Burdick’s) children,” Matt Mohegan said.
He added that the family wants nothing to do with Robert Burdick ever again.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Anna Klein requested, and the court granted, more than a dozen no-contact orders against Robert Burdick for Linda Burdick’s family members.
Unfolding a piece of crumpled paper, Robert Burdick read from notes and told the judge he was sorry for what he’d done. He said he has lost all self-respect and the love of everyone he was connected to through his wife.
“I took your love and walked all over it, threw it away with my actions,” he said. “I miss Linda every day, every day, every day.”