Day 7: Prosecutor calls 11 witnesses

None of them appear to be the jailers or officers involved in Craig Burdines's arrest; brother of dead man testifies again
Jun 8, 2014


Updated 4:26 p.m.— It appears the grand jury is done for the day.

Update 4:15 p.m. — Eric Burdine is off the stand.

Update 4:04 p.m.— An unidentified male who was an inmate at the jail that night, has left the stand. Eric Burdine, Craig Burdine's brother, has retaken the stand. He is 11th witness of the day.

Update 3:55 p.m. — The last witness, an unidentified man, in the hallway has taken the stand.

Update 3:34 p.m. — Tina Tack- Anderson has left the stand. A dispatcher the night Craig Burdine died Anderson declined to discuss what she may have testified to.

Update 2:59 p.m. — The eighth witness has left the stand. The ninth witness, a woman, has walked into the courtroom.

Update 2:50 p.m. — The last witness, Juan Levario, has left the stand. He lived next door to where the altercation occurred and testified to what he saw when police arrived.

Update 2:37 p.m. — The seventh witness has taken the stand after jury members reconvened after taking a break.

Update 1:50 p.m. — The last witness is off the stand.

Update 12:45 p.m. — A silver haired man in a dark suit is the sixth witness to take the stand. He had a slim file folder in his hand.

Update 12:40 p.m. — The fifth witness is off the stand. He had no comment to questions by a Sandusky Register reporter as he hopped into the passenger seat of a four door silver sedan driven by a BCI Agent.

Update 11:51 a.m. — The fourth witness is off the stand and a fifth, escorted by a BCI special agent has just taken the stand.This mystery fifth witness was brought in at 11:33 a.m.

Update 11:35 a.m. — The third witness is off the stand and a fourth witness has gone in. Robert Collins lived in the home on Sycamore Street where the fight ocurred.

Update 11:14 a.m. — The second witness is off the stand. The third witness has gone into the courtroom.

Update 11:04 a.m. — The second witness has taken the stand.

Update 10:55 a.m. — The first witness is off the stand after about half an hour of testimony. Grand jury members have taken a break.

Update: 10:09 a.m. — Witnesses continue to collect in the hallway of the Sandusky County Common Pleas court.  The first witness who is waiting arrived about 9:14 a.m.. They have been arriving sporadically but now all are waiting to be called in to testify. Most appear to have been on Sycamore St. or in the jail the night Craig Burdine died.

Update 9:01 a.m.— It appears the final jurors have arrived. Proceedings should begin soon.

Update: 8:38 a.m. — Attorney General prosecutor Matt Donahue has just arrived. Jury members are filing into the courtroom where they will here proceedings for the day.

June 8, 2014, original post: 

Headline: DeWine's grand jury returns today 
— Prosecutor gives family no confidence in hearings; they want witnesses called 

The grand jury hearing evidence in the 2007 jailhouse death of Craig Burdine is expected to return Monday for the seventh day of testimony in five weeks. 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has refused any comment on the investigation, which he began in August, the grand jury proceedings or the criticism he's received about how he's handled those tasks. 

DeWine's lead prosecutor, Matt Donahue, has at times been openly hostile to them, Burdine family members said, and other times he's been dismissive or wasn't paying attention to the testimony being given. He's given them little guidance during the hearings, said Craig Burdine's father, Jess Burdine,  and Donahue isn't presenting all the evidence. 

"If he's not representing Craig's family then who is he representing?" said Jess, 80. "If he's not defending Craig, who is he defending?"

Donahue also has refused comment and refused to respond to written inquiries from the Register about the issues the family has raised. 

Day 6: Where everybody knows your name

Jess Burdine told the Register previously DeWine and his office would become part of the cover-up of homicide by the Sandusky County sheriff's office and Fremont police if he failed to follow through and bring the evidence and witnesses in front of the grand jury. DeWine has not responded to the statement.

Local officials never addressed the Burdines questions, or conducted an investigation after Craig Burdine died in the jail on Aug. 11, 2007, or responded to written inquiries about those questions concerning evidence the Burdines brought forward. 

Click here to read related articles, see video



Once again, it is not the job of the state attorney general or his office to represent one side or the other. Their job is to present the facts of the case in an objective manner to produce an objective conclusion.

Also, it is more prudent of them not to answer the paper's questions, because the paper is trying every way they can to sway the entire process in favor of the family, without consideration of the facts.


Are you sure the grand jury is getting ALL the facts? Sure doesn't sound like it is !!!

Which do you work for, DeWine or the sheriffs office or the Fremont police ??


I'm not a cop hater like you if that's what your asking.


Lol I knew this was going to happen as soon as I read your comment, just didn't think it was going to be this soon. I knew someone was going to accuse you of being associated with LE.


OK julian, I guess that means you are one of the cops lover !!! ;o)

Matt Westerhold

The statement "without consideration of the facts" is false, Julian. You're either blinded by something to the information presented or you have a vested interest in the outcome. You respond the same way local law enforcement officials responded to the family, pretending to conduct a criminal investigation without conducting one.


Cop hater/lover aside wouldn't it be in the best interest of the AG's office to call the people who were there first hand? If you are going through the process of a grand jury wouldn't you expect the jurors to be presented with actual testimony from those directly involved that night?


Cop hater/lover aside wouldn't it be in the best interest of the AG's office to call the people who were there first hand? If you are going through the process of a grand jury wouldn't you expect the jurors to be presented with actual testimony from those directly involved that night?


Have you made a summary of the police officer's reports from the incident in any of the articles? Have you included any direct quotes from the police officer's reports? Have you even read any of the police officer's reports? I'm sure they tell a much different story than what you're writing about.

Matt Westerhold

Again Julian, you're overlooking the information to suggest the information wasn't presented. Yes, we have reported what the written statements said; the Register cannot quote individuals who will not respond to questions or provide replies to written inquiries; yes the reports have been read and the information in them was repeatedly provided in news articles; and yes, they do tell a different story. The information in written statements cannot be verified and appear directly disputed by viewing the surveillance videos. The reports, which are not from a criminal investigation, tell a story that is different from the one Dr. Baden relates. The reports tell a story that seems in opposition to common sense.


I have yet to see a credible, detailed analysis of any police report written by any of the officers involved. I have yet to see any detailed statements made in any of the reports in any of these articles.

A police report is a statement of fact that does not need to be verified. A police report can be examined for what it is, and it can be summarized in a newspaper article just as easily as any other paper does everyday. I have yet to see this happen, and I doubt it will.

There is no information to overlook because you haven't included it in these articles, it's as simple as that.


Haven't you learned yet that you're not allowed to question anything? You can piece together the gist of the police statements from the Appeals Court ruling and Dr. Baden's deposition. Really suggest the deposition if you haven't read it yet. It's long, but a real eye opener.

Matt Westerhold

Your suggestion "a police report is a statement of fact that doesn't need to be verified" is not accurate, Julian. Also, the information you're referring to isn't necessarily contained in "police reports" as much as it is contained in "written statements" from the officers involved since there was no criminal investigation by the county sheriff or Fremont police after Craig Burdine died at the county jail after being Tasered repeatedly while he was still handcuffed and shackled. Common sense, it would seem, is to question why local authorities skipped doing or asking for a criminal investigation under circumstances that require one.

That aside, the information in the statements and in the "arrest report" has been reported in previous news articles you might have overlooked or don't recall reading. You can click the "Craig Burdine" link above the headline and page back to read these. The Register provides more coverage available in the free area of our services in the last couple years than it did in 2007, at the start of the Burdine reporting. We will seek to post the specific statements, however, with a future update.

The statements all suggest Burdine was being combative, contrary to what can be seen and heard in all the available video and audio surveillance that suggests he was barely conscious or already unconscious from the point of first contact with Fremont police officers until the time of death in the jail. An initial ambulance call made for Craig was canceled.  

The editors and reporters at the Register sought to provide the best, most thorough and exhaustive coverage of the grand jury and previous developments in the Burdine case. We also hoped to be fair, balanced and consistent in those efforts. And, during nearly seven years covering it, public officials have been consistent in refusing to respond, rebut or refute information of serious concern the family has brought forward. You seem to overlook, or dismiss this, in your commentary.


I've never disagreed with the case, I have disagreed in the way in which it was reported. I also don't disagree with some of the points that you make, because some of them honestly make sense.

When I ask about the previous reports, however, I am more so looking for certain questions to be answered, because I'm interested in getting all of the angles so I can form my own objective opinion about the case. Here are some:

Did the witness statements include detailed information on how Burdine was being combative? Did they include the reasoning behind certain restraint techniques due to the combativeness? Did Burdine attempt to assault the officers during the time that he was combative? Why was he carried into the jail by his hands and legs? What was the reasoning behind using the Tazer weapon multiple times? Was there a reason why these restraint techniques were used? Were the officers in fear of their safety at any point during the interaction?

Just some of the questions that I would be interested in knowing, and I would not doubt that those could be answered in the arrest reports, however we can only use what has been written in reference to those reports to form an opinion.

"Fair, balanced, and consistent." I was re-reading some of the old articles, and found the titles to stand out when I read that statement. Here are some: "DeWine's credibility questioned", "Group's post calls out Dewine", "Witnesses get squeamish", "DeWine's intentions questioned", "Stop Wild West Corrupt Justice", "Petitioning the Governor, "Thanks for Nothing", "Doubting Dewine", and I recall a news story that was essentially a "Most disappointing public official" contest in which you requested the commenters vote upon.

Florence Nightingale

Will some sort of report be issued after this grand jury is complete?


This is the primary reason laypeople do not belong in court business, except for jury duty. If you ask the grand jury prosecutors of any local county (at least those stupid enough to continue to speak to the Register) how many times in the last 10 years the victim's family has commandeered complete control over what is presented to a grand jury and I guarantee you the answer is none. Mike Dewine didn't want this case, god bless him, came as a last resort to quell the paranoia and is being deferential by giving leeway to the victims' family only to have his kindness thrown back in his face by these inconsolable yokels who cant see their son for what he was.


You seem to forget that our nation is founded on the principle that the courts belong to the people, not to a select group of elitists who claim to know what is best for us.

There are many reasons to question the nature of this grand jury and whether or not DeWine's office is conducting it professionally.

Julie R.



None of them appear to be jailers or officers involved is the first line of the article. HEY Matt.......your article didn't start that way when the family members testified..hhhmmmmm. Just saying!


Some you want a copy of police report it seems. You need to realize that the police will not give that stuff out. Plus reports need to be verified to make sure they are accurate or match what you say happened.


The Register already admitted to receiving the copies of those police reports. And if the case is a closed investigation, then that means I could go to Fremont PD and the S.O. and pick up all copies of the reports written. Your comment is wrong.

Oftentimes, when a normal newspaper reports on a police related incident, they take the copy of the report and summarize it. It happens EVERYDAY. Those reports oftentimes are not verified, and oftentimes reporters do not interview the arresting officers before publishing their stories. How would a paper know the facts behind a criminal incident? Because they READ THE REPORT. Verified? No.

The Sandusky Register could have summarized one or more of these police reports but choose not to, and form their own opinions and publish them as fact.