Day 5: Grand jury interuptus

Get updates here as it happens. Dead man's brother on witness stand now
Melissa Topey
May 27, 2014


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. 

Read related articles



Typical of DeWine to waste taxpayers money and call family to the stand to defend their love one & NOT the officials that were there or The "experts" that has determined Craig was killed. Now add this ruling to this case and I'd say DeWine and company feet are to the ground now..

Ralph J.

Another day of DeWine's dog and pony show. Put a stop to this dog and pony show and call in the Feds from Washington.

Ralph J.

DeWine is not part of the solution for inmates rights to required medical care. DeWine is part of the problem. Burdine died because he was not provided with required medical care and he died. No ifs or buts.

Johnny Canuck

Excited delirium?! That is a controversial medical condition. It is NOT recognized by either the Canadian or American Medical Associations. The only time you ever hear of ED, or anyone dying from ED, is after a sudden in-custody death involving an Electronic Control Device (ECD).
Did Ms. Beisser bother to have the ECD(s) involved in this fatality checked for 'output variance'? No police agencies anywhere are regularly measuring their ECDs, as they do with their breathalyzers, defibs and radar guns, yet it is now known that not all ECDs are emitting consistent current; some devices are performing outside safety allowables set by manufacturers. This is troubling when you consider ECDs are designed to introduce electrical insult into the human body. Ms. Beisser has made her ruling about the cause-of-death of Burdine without full information.
It is still not known how many ECD stuns or duration of stun it takes to negatively impact a person's health, but it would only be made worse if the ECD(s)used were perdforming outside the safety allowables set by manufacturers (although no one outside of these companies has ever verified these allowables, because as the CSA, Underwriters lab or IEC confirm,there is still NO electrical safety standard for invasive shocks). Let's let the Feds take a look at how this technology was fast-tracked into service, without enough scientific scrutiny. Just don't let it be the Justice department, because they got us in this ECD mess in the first place. Call for a congressional hearing, because to date 848 citizens in North America have died after being shocked with these devices.

my oh my

Why does Jess Burdine now want attorneys is it because he was being asked tough questions by the prosecutor and the grand jurors and can't answer them?So if you spent life savings and such is that a lie with no attorneys ever being pre,sent and the family speaking freely...Its all about the Benjamins..


Maybe because with the Ohio State prosecutor (IF he was doing his job presenting a case against the law enforcement officers that caused this death as he would be expected to) the need for attorneys there would be redundant. But since the prosecutor is NOT presenting all the evidence and's pretty apparent, the Burdine's atty's are needed.
Pretty much the dog and pony show point....all for show and not for JUSTICE for this family! Similar as what happened to Limberios and the sexploited girl in the jail cell!


Spot on!


Not to be mean here, but IMO if this case was winnable tgere would've been attorneys all over it waiting for the next big pay day. seems there isn't enough evidence or believable evidence that they would need to return an indictment or

my oh my

Agree this case holds no water for any indictments an will be NO-Billed guaranteed....


You don't understand how the legal system works in this state/country. Lawyers will only take cases on contingency if the potential defendant is a private person or entity with lots of money to pay a judgment. Lawyers as a rule will not sue any government entity on contingency because the government controls the courts and the lawyer's license/career.

It is also very expensive to hire experts and conduct discovery in these types of cases and the government drags the process out to drain even well funded plaintiffs of their resources to continue the fight. Once that happens the lawyer abandons the client.


I know this to not be an accurate statement. This same victim sued another law enforcement agency and won a judgment and by what I've read he himself was not well funded.


Yes the family won a police brutality case for attacks on Craig Burdine in federal court but the family was well funded.

The judgment for $600,000 was determined by a jury but reduced to $200,000 by the judge as excessive. After legal fees they didn't retain too much for the brutal attack on Craig Burdine in the Ottawa County jail.

That judgment irritated the local LE community and they were out to get the family ever since. Hence the attack on Craig Burdine and the amount of money the family had to spend trying to get an appropriate investigation in the first place. LE learned how to better cover up excessive force from that first case and effectively drained this family of their resources in the process.

Thanks for proving my point!


Are you kidding? Area law enforcement was out to get this family because they were irritated? I'm sure if that was the case this wouldn't be the first run in with authorities since the judgment. And it wouldn't have been just him, as you say they would've gone after the whole family. While reading most of your comments I find myself agreeing with you, but the last part of this one I can't disagree with you more.


There are many inconsistencies in this case that just don't match up with the accounts. You have Craig Burdine who is combative and has to be subdued and restrained at the scene. He is actually carried into the station in the prone position by his arms and legs. Yet he is still some how combative enough to be tasered three times and peppered sprayed. He was taken into the shower to have the pepper spray washed off yet none of his injuries warranted the same concern. He has second and third degree burns to at least his left hand and right lower leg and knee from the post mortom photo's. The autopsy results listed the fractured hyoid bone and petechial hemorrhage consistent with asyphixiation/neck compression according to Baden yet there is no mention of a choke hold used to subdue or restrain the deceased. The video and audio at the station seems to conviently be absent during critical times. The EMS wasn't called until one of the officers believed that he may have broken the arm of Burdine while trying to subdue a restrained/cuffed prisoner. If he wasn't cuffed why would they uncuff a combative prisoner only to have to restrain him again? He was placed in the ambulance alive but then found to be unresponsive by one of the officers in the ambulance. EMS would normally perform an initial assessment of the patient to determine the type and seriousness of any injuries to determine if immediate lifesaving measures would need to be taken at site or if they could safely transport. There are just too many circumstances that don't add up with the end results and can't be glossed over. this obviously is a family desperate for answers and justice for a child/brother who died in the custody of those charged to protect and serve.