No grounds for murder try charge; Burlingame gets assault misdemeanor

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The former Lathrop Manteca firefighter that was facing charges of attempted murder for a stabbing outside of a Manteca nightspot in December of 2017 has received probation.

Brandon Dean Burlingame, 36, accepted a plea deal Monday morning in which he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery. 

According to Burlingame’s attorney Allen Sawyer, his client – who was facing felony charges that could have landed him in prison for life – will serve no additional jail time and will be placed on informal probation for three years, after which time the charge will be dismissed. 

As long as Burlingame’s probation isn’t violated, Sawyer said, the charge agreed to in the plea is eligible to become a simple assault charge. 

“We felt that it was a clear-cut case of self-defense,” Sawyer said Monday after the hearing. “We had a preliminary hearing and then our investigator started looking into things and we went back and forth for two years and this is the deal that they were willing to offer.”

Burlingame was identified by witnesses as the person responsible after an altercation near The Pub and Lounge on N. Main Street in December of 2017 left a 43-year-old man with stab wounds.

The fact that he was a member of the Jus Brothers Motorcycle Club, Sawyer said, may have been a factor in the rush to judgment after it was announced that he was identified by the motorcycle kutte that he was wearing.

“This was an absolutely horrific experience for Mr. Burlingame, and people tended to jump to conclusions because of his affiliation with the motorcycle club,” Sawyer said. “But he was a law-abiding citizen who up to this point had made it his life’s work to help people. 

“He’s not that big of a guy, and there was a much larger guy that had started the fight and he made the decision that he had to defend himself.”

At the time of the incident, Burlingame was working as a firefighter-engineer for the Lathrop Manteca Fire District. He was ultimately placed on leave before his employment with the agency was terminated on the grounds that he violated the general conduct clause of the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

According to Sawyer, Burlingame has found gainful employment elsewhere and plans on pursuing his new career as he attempts to move past the tumultuous period in his life. 

“He has moved on with his life,” Sawyer said. “He is now working as an electrician – it’s something that he’s very good at – and while financially this has taken a severe toll on him, he is moving on with life.”

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