DeWine's intentions questioned

May 8, 2014


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's investigation of the 2007 jailhouse death of Craig Burdine could be just a continuing "whatewash" of an "investigation" first conducted by Sandusky County sheriff's detective Sean O'Connell, Burdine's father said Wednesday. 

"Go with only the facts," Jess Burdine, 81, said during a segment of the Register's public affairs talk program on Wednesday. "The officers' testimony is going to mean nothing because nothing they have ever said is supported by the video."

Watch the video interview below

Fremont police officers and guards at the Sandusky County jail all said Craig Burdine was being combative when he was arrested Aug. 11, 2007, and also when they dragged him from a police cruiser into the jail, where he died just a few minutes later. But surveillance video from the police cruisers and the jail show he was barely conscious. 

There isn't a single frame from any of the video that shows Craig being combative, Jess Burdine said. 

Burdine and his family fear DeWine's office won't let a grand jury seated Tuesday see that evidence or hear from witnesses with information that might lead to a criminal indictment. 

DeWine began the criminal investigation in August — six years after Craig Burdine died — because the Sandusky County sheriff and the Fremont police never conducted a criminal investigation. 

But Jess Burdine said he's worried DeWine is providing the same level of service he got from O'Connell and local officials after his son died inside the jail. In the seven months DeWine's been investigating the jailhouse death his investigators never contacted Dr. Michael Baden, a renowned forensic pathologist who reviewed the autopsy, witness statements and other reports and determined Craig Burdine was the victim of a homicide. Craig Burdine died from severe compression to his neck when a jail guard put a chokehold on him while he was still handcuffed and shackled inside the jail. 

O'Connell assured him the day after Craig died that he would do a thorough investigation and "get to the bottom of it," Jess Burdine said, but "he never talked to me after that, never, ever."

O'Connell, who was a detective with the Fremont police at that time, didn't return Jess Burdine's multiple phone calls after that initial contact, he said. The detective acknowledged in a 2010 deposition he was not invistigating the circumstances surrounding how Craig Burdine died and never interviewed the officers or the guards involved. 

It's not clear why DeWine's investigators never called Baden, but the Burdine family fears the reason is they don't want the grand jury to see that evidence. It's also not clear whether any of the witnesses with information that might lead to criminal indictments were ever interviewd by DeWine's team, and DeWine has refused to give the family any information about his intentions in taking the investigation to a grand jury. 

"I stand with Jess Burdine," Mike Limberios said during the program. "He's a veteran. He's a father. He deserves an honest, fair, open and transparent look into the death of his son." 

Neither man has faith in Mike DeWine.

Mike Limberios said DeWine failed to finish the work of a grand jury that was secretly selected last year to hear evidence in the death of his son, Jacob Limberios, on March 2, 2012. Grand jurors determined Jake was accidentally killed but Sandusky County coroner John Wukie has refused to correct Jake's death certificate. Wukie ruled Jake's death an accidental suicide. 

Limberios and Burdine, their families and supporters, and other families that contend leaders of Sandusky County law enforcement have covered up wrongdoing plan to protest DeWine's grand jury presentation, but the AG's office has refused to say when the next grand jury hearing will happen. They also have refused to say whether any witnesses will be called or whether they will seek criminal indictments. 

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Click the player below to watch the interview with Jess Burdine, Eric Burdine and Mike Limberios



What advice do you have for other families that don't have the monies or resources to bring justice to their loved ones injustice?


Good job helping these families out Matt Westerhold! Unbelievable! Shackled, cuffed, tased, pepper sprayed, then dead minutes later. I say corruption. Hammer these guys! I hope these families get someone to listen to them.


Can you name the 3rd person in the interview please? I watched the show and he was VERY educated & spoke well. This was one of the most informative, interesting shows you have had to date. Thank you for keeping us informed and please keep the investigations going. Seems those in charge are not!


There was Mr Limberios Eric burdine and then Jess burdine


Did I accurately hear Mr. Limberios state that his family has spent over $180,000 just to have Dean Henry removed as special prosecutor from the case and there still isn't a resolution?

People need to wise up and understand that the legal profession is nothing more than an extension of government (all are officers of the judicial branch and are loyal to the court) and really are not about justice for the public. Lawyers thrive when government officials fail as they get paid to try to make them do their job and then throw their hands up and surrender when the client runs out of money due the limitless resources of the government.

It is the job of the federal government to police and investigate government corruption within state and local communities because as AG DeWine demonstrates you can't trust state government and attorneys licensed by the state to properly challenge, investigate and prosecute state and local officials because their livelihoods depend upon ultimately all of them getting along.


Babo, who in the federal government can be contacted to police and investigate this corruption?


Here's the link to the FBI's web page on filing complaints of official misconduct.

Please note that the FBI recommends a local filing. I think that is ill advised in this case because the local office is in Sandusky and likely has a lot of relationships with area LEO's.

The better option is to file in Toledo or Cleveland and request the assistance of Congress Representatives Kaptur and Latta with that complaint. An even better option may be to file directly with the Criminal division of the US Department of Justice Civil Rights section and request the investigation be run out of Washington DC. The address is included on the FBI webpage. It was this division that prosecuted the Lucas County Sheriff for a death in that jail.


Ralph J.

Thank you for the information. I don't trust any in state FBI agents because they are politically connected to local governments and LE. In some cases, there are close friendships between the FBI and those in local government and LE. Forget about DeWine who is only putting on a dog and pony show. Stop wasting money on lawyers and contact Kaptur, Latta, Sherrod Brown, Portman or whoever your US Senator or US Representative is. Get to work and contact your US rep to get a Federal Investigation going. Stop spending money on lawyers that will get you nowhere but only adds to DeWine's dog and pony show. There is strength in numbers when contacting your US Senator or US Representative. Do it today.


What about the woman who died of drug issues in Sandusky jail because nobody bothered to check her meds, etc.? Anybody looking into that?

Ralph J.

There have been other deaths in Erie County that should have been properly investigated. A lot of reporting is being done on Sandusky County but many news stories need to be reported on Erie County. Maybe in the future?

Julie R.

One can only hope.


Watched 18 minutes and will finish up tonight.

I'm convinced that DeWine has always been and always will be a politician first and a human being last.

Im Republican, but DeWine is a RINO. No true American would allow such nonsense and crimes to take place under their jurisdiction. DeWine in my mind is a disgrace and should be ashamed.