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Day 5: Grand jury interuptus

Melissa Topey • Jun 2, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Get the full story from Day 5 of the Burdine grand jury

Update 2:59 p.m. — Craig Hiser, the man who fell into the fire pit with Craig Burdine, left the stand. He testified for about 30 minutes.

Update 2:15 p.m. — An unknown male witness took the stand and testified for about 10 minutes.

Update 1:39 p.m.  — Testimony appears to be continuing. Pizza and litters of pop were delivered to courthouse. An unknown female witness, possible retired law enforcement, was behind the closed doors of the courtroom from 1:39 p.m. to 2:08 p.m. She immediately left the courthouse in a white SUV.

Update 1:22 p.m.  — Eric Burdine is off the stand. Jurors have gone to lunch.

Update 12:20 p.m. —  Eric Burdine, brother of Craig Burdine, has taken the stand.

Earlier his father, Jess, testified that Donahue is not defending Craig and that he, as an 80 year-old man who is not an attorney, could not be expected to bring a case against  multiple law enforcement officers. He asked that his attorneys be allowed to be a part of grand jury proceedings.

Update 11:10 a.m. — Laurie Burdine has taken the stand after grand jury members took a bathroom break. Waiting in the hall to testify are several members of law enforcement, including Sandusky County deputies.

Update 9:14 a.m. — Jess Burdine has taken the stand.

Update 9:01 a.m. — Jess and Eric Burdine have arrived at the Sandusky County Common Pleas court. Both expect to take the stand today.

Jess said he plans on putting the court on notice that, based on the witnesses called so far,  they do not feel Attorney General prosecutor Matt Donahue is defending Craig. Laurie Burdine, Craig's older sister, is also expected to take the stand today.

Burdines get assist from U.S. Supreme Court

posted 8:11 a.m., May 27, 2014: 

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week on the use of deadly force and Tasers is the backdrop today when a grand jury hearing evidence in the 2007 jailhouse death of Craig Burdine reconvenes in the Sandusky County Courthouse this morning. 

In Thomas v. Nugent, the justices reversed a lower court's ruling to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit in a Taser-related death of a prisoner. Tasers can cause sudden death in persons suffering from excited delirium, according to a manufacturer's warning, and that would appear to have direct bearing on Lucas County deputy coroner Cynthia Beisser's official cause of death ruling.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has given no indication he intends to call Beisser as a witness, or whether he'll call Dr. Michael Baden, the renowned New York forensic pathologist who determined Craig Burdine was the victim of a homicide at the jail.

DeWine also has not said whether he'll seek testimony from the jail guards, police officers, EMTs or supervisors at the jail when Burdine died. 

The Supreme Court ruling puts new focus whether DeWine intends to call, or is compelled to subpoena, Beisser. She determined Craig Burdine's death was self-inflicted caused by alcohol and drug intoxification and the condition known as excited delirium.

Jail guards struggled with Burdine and he was Tasered multiple times moments before he died inside the jail on Aug. 11, 2007. The circumstances in his death and the jailhouse death detailed in of Thomas v. Nugent are considerably similar.

Get updates here all day. 

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