Mark Lee
Mark Lee
May 29, 2014



The stabbing suspect whom police officers arrested after a 12-hour manhunt this month in Carroll might have used a sword to stab his ex-girlfriend, according to newly released court documents.

Mark Kevin Lee, 27, was arrested about 8:30 p.m. on May 16 as he hid under the backyard deck of a house on the north side of town.

Lee eluded police officers twice that day after his ex-girlfriend, Christine Burtnett, 25, escaped from Lee's basement - bloodied by at least one stab wound - to a neighbor's house where she sought help about 7:20 a.m.

Investigators allege Lee stabbed Burtnett late the night before. The two had lived together, and Burtnett might have gone to Lee's house at 1308 N. Main St. to retrieve some of her possessions, Police Chief Jeff Cayler has said.

Officers searched Lee's house later that morning with a warrant and confiscated a knife and sword, among other evidence. Cayler said the knife wasn't the weapon Lee allegedly used to attack Burtnett, but he declined to confirm whether Lee used the sword.

"The victim had told us that he has a collection of stuff like that," Cayler said.

Search-warrant documents show officers retrieved a sword with a black hilt from a bedroom of the house. The documents do not say how long it is.

The documents also describe a "makeshift bed area" in the house's basement where Burtnett was apparently held against her will. Burtnett told officers "she had been tied up at the residence," according to the documents.

Officers found boots that were tied to a post with an electrical cord and another cable tied to a beam support that was used as a tether, the documents show.

They list pillows, couch cushions, blankets and a sheet that were together on the basement floor. Some of them were stained by an undisclosed substance.

Loud music played in the basement of the house when officers arrived to search it.

Burtnett was taken by medical helicopter to a Des Moines hospital after she escaped the basement. Burtnett had surgery to repair her injuries and left the hospital last week and returned to Carroll, Cayler said.

Burtnett declined to comment to the Daily Times Herald about the ordeal.

Lee faces one felony charge for willful injury, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. More criminal charges are expected when Carroll County Attorney John Werden files the official charges in court, Cayler said.

"I know what I did was wrong, and I barely remember anything that happened Thursday night," Lee said during his initial court appearance on May 17.

He is held in Carroll County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

Court documents show that St. Anthony Regional Hospital workers collected DNA evidence from Burtnett as part of a so-called "sex assault kit" before she was taken by helicopter to Des Moines, but Cayler said Wednesday that investigators don't suspect Lee of raping her.