More cold justice

Matt Westerhold
Jan 27, 2014


"There is no justice when the law kills."

That's how Jess Burdine closed a 5-page, handwritten letter he sent to the Register earlier this month. 

"I sincerely hope your readers can find the time to understand Craig A. Burdine's death."

Read past articles here

Jess Burdine, 80, also hopes Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine comes to an understanding. DeWine's office has been investigating his son's death since August at the request of Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt, who was prodded by Jess to investigate it as a crime.

There's been no comment from DeWine, or his office, on the status of its criminal investigation, but an expert the AG's office has relied on in the past already determined Craig Burdine's death was a homicide.

Craig Burdine was asphyixiated "when his neck was severely compressed while he was being restrained because he wouldn't take a shower shortly after he was brought to the Sandusky County Jail and before EMS arrived. CPR should have been performed," Baden wrote in court documents.  

Burdine died in the early morning hours of Aug. 11, 2007. The Lucas County Coroner's office ruled his death the result of  excited delirium brought on by consumption of alcohol and methamphetamines. But Baden, a former New York medical examiner, said it was asphysiation — being unable to breathe — caused by the shattering of the cartilage in his neck that killed Craig Burdine.

Craig Burdine, who suffered earlier injuries being burned in a fire pit and later being restrained by police, was combative again in the shower room but was then left unattended after falling to the floor, with his face turning purple, according to Baden. A jail guard restrained him with a knee to his neck, according to court documents. 

An inmate who observed what occurred said "there was no need for 4-5 deputies to hold him down," and "they just threw him to the ground until EMS came," Baden stated.  

The alcohol and methamphetamine levels in Craig Burdine's system could not have caused excited delirium, according to Baden, who "strongly" disagreed with the Lucas County Coroner's office ruling. 

Jess Burdine' isn't sure what the outcome will be from DeWine's investigation. After nearly seven years waiting for someone to listen, he's not confident DeWine will come back with charges against anyone.

“We’re just patiently waiting for an answer," he told the Register in December.

DeWine said earlier this month there were no updates to report on the investigation.


Simple Enough II

You forgot to mention, He showed up at a private residence in the wee hours of the morning uninvited, he threw a man into the fire he then proceeded to run head first into the concrete block side of the house, and was also combative with arresting police and then the sheriff's jailers. Maybe you could also ask about some of his other actions that led to his arrest before?

Matt Westerhold

I didn't forget to mention what previous reports stated, Simple. The blog was focussed on what killed him, since that's what Ohio AG Mike DeWine is investigating. 


So could have the blunt force trauma contributed to his death? Or maybe the illegal drugs in his system gave him super human powers and that is why he was handled the way he was. There are just to many contributing factors to say, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officers were the sole cause of death.

Simple Enough II

They are opinions right.


Mr. Westerhold:

Most of the early articles on the Burdine case show a date of March 24, 2010 and do not contain any comments. It seems the articles were published years earlier in 2007 and had a lot of comments at the time.

Is there anyway the publication dates can be corrected and the comments restored on these stories? There might be useful information in the comments to an investigator, or federal authorities as LE in Sandusky County has a history of making anonymous comments to distract from misconduct or to harass people who try to expose it.


How can any public official ever be held accountable if they all have this Sovereign Immunity? It's not like any public official is gonna stand up and do what is right and stop this corruption, the covering of each other's butts, not doing their job properly or even the neglect that occurs in Sandusky County. Is this Immunity why they really don't care about helping the wrong or their superior/cockiness attitude's? People just can't go sue if they don't follow their own policy or procedure's. Only if it resulted in a death can one do that. Sad McDonald's hold their employee's at a better standard & accountable for their performance.


This is very simple...BURDINE FAILED TO COMPLY. Easy as that. When you are told something just do it or don't bit_h about the outcome. If he had complied this would not have happened.

Sorry to sound crass but there is no one to blame this on but Burdine.

Matt Westerhold

There is no death sentence in the Ohio Revised Code, Mikesee, for "failure to comply." 


Had he complied, Matt, this would not have happened. Responsibility for your actions.

Matt Westerhold

Have you seen the autopsy photos? And being responsible for your actions is exactly correct. 


Let me ask you this question Matt and there really is only a yes or no answer. Had Burdine complied with the officers directions do you believe yhis would have happened?

my oh my

There a lots of things in some of these "cases" that the general public doesn't know or know about...Sometimes there are intricate pieces of evidence or other circumstances most people aren't aware of...


Wasn't a bone in Craig Burdine's neck smashed by the officer leaning on him and that's what caused his death? That doesn't happen unless procedures are not followed (improperly trained) and excessive force used.