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$1 million bail set for cold-case suspect

Clarence Burcham

Bail for the suspect in a 16-year-old Moorhead murder case was set Friday at $1 million bond or $250,000 in cash.

Clay County Attorney Brian Melton argued for bail of $1 million, saying Clarence Michael Burcham, the Center, N.D., 44-year-old accused of killing Sharon Stafford in a mobile home park in 1993, is a threat to public safety and a flight risk.

Burcham is charged with second-degree murder. In court records, Moorhead police allege that Burcham confessed to the crime in a June 2 interview, telling Detective Ryan Nelson that he forced Stafford to have sex with him before strangling her with an electrical cord.

Burcham told Nelson he was angered when Stafford called him "retarded," the court documents said.

Bruce Ringstrom, public defender, didn't oppose the bail amount because Burcham's family retained an attorney from Minneapolis, Tracy Eichhorn-Hicks, who wasn't present Friday but is expected to represent Burcham at a hearing on Tuesday.