Day 3: Jess Burdine asks grand jury to hear evidence

Father of man who died at Sandusky County jail wants state to return perjury, murder charges, plus more updates
Melissa Topey
May 15, 2014


4:35 p.m.— The last witness has left. Donahue is in with the grand jury which should be ending for the day soon.

4:16 p.m.— A unidentified male who was at the jail took the stand and was done after a couple minutes.

4:08 p.m. — Chief Tim Wiersma is off the stand after about 25 minutes of testimony. Wiersma, who was not the chief at the time, had the responsibilty of meeting Jess Burdine at the hospital and notifying him of his son's death.

A man who was in the jail took the stand after Wiersma and was back out about 4 minutes later.

3:30 p.m. — Activists have arrived to stand outside of the courthouse.

Witnesses remaining in the hallway are Fremont Police Chief Tim Wiersma, an inmate who was at the jail that morning and a man who was at the party on Sycamore Street that Burdine was involved in a fight, suffering serious burns.

3:15 p.m. — Activists, who posted on the Register website that they were to be at the courthouse at 3 p.m., have yet to apper.

3:11 p.m. — That last witness has already left the courtroom. Donahue has called in a middle aged woman.

3:07 p.m. — That man has left the courthouse and a young man has gone in.

2:48 p.m. — Another witness has left the stand. The older professionally dressed man declined to answer questions from the Register. Another man has gone into the courtroom.

2:17 p.m. — Jurors have come back from their break.

1:50 p.m.— Donahue is making quick work of witnesses as two more have tesitfied. Magrum declined to answer questions when he was leaving the courthouse. Some jurors hae stepped out for a break.

1:09 p.m. —  Two witness have come and gone after testifying to the grand jury. The first witness, a man, was on the stand about 45 minutes. That man refused to answer questions from the Register before jumping into a large red pickup truck and leaving the courthouse The second, an unidentified woman, testified for about 15 minutes. On the stand now is Chad Magrum, an Sandusky County EMS worker.

11:55 a.m. — Jess Burdine told the Register this morning he feels good he has presented his case in front of a grand jury after waitng more than six years to be heard. He said he asked for charges to be brought against everyone who was involved in his son's death, ranging from purjury against all to second degree murder against some.

A crew from WTOL-TV News Channel 11 arrived late this morning and is currently outside the courthouse.

A post at stated family members and supporters, and the group monitoring the grand jury hearings that stayed through the first two days of hearings, would be back at the courthouse at 3 p.m. today.  

11:25 a.m. — The next witness, who appears to be law enforcment has taken the stand. A female juror member has asked to be excused for the day as her father had been taken to the hospital. After making a phone call the femail juror remained on the jury.

11:16 a.m. — Jess Burdine is done testifying. Juror members have taken a break before next witness is called.

10:58 a.m. — There are five witnesses, including members of law enforcement and the Sandusky County EMS, waiting while Jess  Burdine continues to testify to the grand jury about the death of his son, Craig Burdine. 

8:54 a.m. — Attorney General prosecutor Matt Donahue has called Jess Burdine back to the stand to resume his testimony

8:30 a.m. — The grand jurors arrived at the Sandusky County Common Pleas courthouse and ken thier seats in courtroom 3.

Jess Burdine is to be the first witness back on the stand to resume his testimony. He should be called in to take the stand at 8:45 a.m.

Rain appears to have kept the dedicated group of activists away this morning.

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my oh my

Must be fair weather activists....


Maybe they are undetected because of the overgrown grass at the courthouse lawn?


We will be there at 3 to rally


Well said lil dab


my oh my

I'd be willing to bet that when the jurors asked Jess Burdine some questions they made him squirm and just another day and step closer to a "NO BILL"....


I found the link about a special investigative grand jury that indicted the Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly to be interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, the article claims that the grand jury inn the Kelly case was different from regular grand juries in that it was an "investigative grand jury" as opposed to the regular grand jury that indicts on specific charges raised by the prosecutor. I cannot find any basis in law for this distinction as all grand juries have the power to investigate any alleged crimes in their county and are only limited by the amount of knowledge of the members and the amount of control a prosecutor might exert.

So my question for AG DeWine is this an investigative grand jury and if it is not why is it not an investigative grand jury?

Second, the Athens County Sheriff was alleged to have misused public funds for personal use after it was discovered during an audit by the Auditor of State. The AG then was brought in by the county prosecutor due to a prior history with the Sheriff and the special investigative grand jury was formed. The lead prosecutor in the case was William Schenck a triple dipping senior special assistant to AG DeWine who had an extremely embarrassing arrest for DUI a few months back.

The Sheriff Pat Kelly was not apparently well liked by the rest of the politicians of Athens County because he kept a dossier on them and he was indicted for racketeering as the special grand jury uncovered a lot more mischief than what the auditor of state first identified.

Compare that scenario with former Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton who was also caught by the Auditor of State of stealing over $10,000 of public money for personal use in 2012. Unlike the Athens County situation, Bratton was a GOB who got along with the county prosecutor, judge and the rest of the political infrastructure. As a result County prosecutor Mulligan did not request AG DeWine to prosecute Bratton nor was a special investigative grand jury formed to uncover more potential misconduct.

Instead, the Feds on their own after the Auditor of State likely complained to them cut a deal with Bratton to plead out to one count of theft of public funds from a program receiving federal funds. He will be sentenced on May 23, 2014.

It would be interesting to learn how AG DeWine decides what public corruption cases are deserving of special investigative grand juries, regular grand juries, or no state grand jury at all.

Sal Dali

It would appear our AG is more interested in prosecuting those that steal money and than those that rob people of their lives. Now that is twisted considering he received campaign contributions from that guy who scammed people of an estimated 100 million. They prosecuted the scammer but AG wouldn't return the money he received...other recipients included George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachman to name a few. "That's not really an essential part of proving the elements of the crime of him taking this money," DeWine said ( Maybe Mother Goose was thinking about politicians in the rhyme "There was a crooked man...and they all lived together in a little crooked house."

Ralph J.

Stop farting around with protests and signs. Call in the Feds! "Thee Wine" will do nothing.