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More cold justice

Matt Westerhold • Jan 27, 2014 at 6:56 AM

"There is no justice when the law kills."

That's how Jess Burdine closed a 5-page, handwritten letter he sent to the Register earlier this month. 

"I sincerely hope your readers can find the time to understand Craig A. Burdine's death."

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Jess Burdine, 80, also hopes Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine comes to an understanding. DeWine's office has been investigating his son's death since August at the request of Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt, who was prodded by Jess to investigate it as a crime.

There's been no comment from DeWine, or his office, on the status of its criminal investigation, but an expert the AG's office has relied on in the past already determined Craig Burdine's death was a homicide.

Craig Burdine was asphyixiated "when his neck was severely compressed while he was being restrained because he wouldn't take a shower shortly after he was brought to the Sandusky County Jail and before EMS arrived. CPR should have been performed," Baden wrote in court documents.  

Burdine died in the early morning hours of Aug. 11, 2007. The Lucas County Coroner's office ruled his death the result of  excited delirium brought on by consumption of alcohol and methamphetamines. But Baden, a former New York medical examiner, said it was asphysiation — being unable to breathe — caused by the shattering of the cartilage in his neck that killed Craig Burdine.

Craig Burdine, who suffered earlier injuries being burned in a fire pit and later being restrained by police, was combative again in the shower room but was then left unattended after falling to the floor, with his face turning purple, according to Baden. A jail guard restrained him with a knee to his neck, according to court documents. 

An inmate who observed what occurred said "there was no need for 4-5 deputies to hold him down," and "they just threw him to the ground until EMS came," Baden stated.  

The alcohol and methamphetamine levels in Craig Burdine's system could not have caused excited delirium, according to Baden, who "strongly" disagreed with the Lucas County Coroner's office ruling. 

Jess Burdine' isn't sure what the outcome will be from DeWine's investigation. After nearly seven years waiting for someone to listen, he's not confident DeWine will come back with charges against anyone.

“We’re just patiently waiting for an answer," he told the Register in December.

DeWine said earlier this month there were no updates to report on the investigation.

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