He's 80, a working man; a family man; an agreeable man.
He's also a man who believes Sandusky County jail guards killed his son.
Jess Burdine fought for 6½ years for justice, presenting evidence and information that went un-refuted but still beaten back and ignored, callously and arrogantly by local officials and the courts.
He and his wife paid more than $300,000 in legal fees and court costs — all of their retirement savings — to get a day in court for the men they believe responsible for killing Craig.
The effort failed, and with no options left, Jess Burdine again pressed for a criminal investigation. Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt agreed to hand over the documentation Burdine and his attorney provided to the Ohio Attorney General in August.
“No criminal investigation took place until we started one five months ago,” Dan Tierney, a spokesman for DeWine, said last week, explaining the challenges in investigating an incident that happened so long ago.
It's a “cold case,” Tierney said.
How does a jailhouse death get cold? Why would local officials decline to conduct a criminal investigation after a violent death in the jail? The answers might seem obvious, and onerous, to some, perhaps many.
The answers are obvious to Jess Burdine.
In reports written immediately after Craig Burdine died on Aug. 11, 2007, jail guards involved said he became violent and had to be subdued. But surveillance video from the sally port at the jail show Burdine is incapacitated and non-responsive already, upon arrival.
The video is damaged, but near the end officers can be seen carrying him into the jail by his legs and arms, with Burdine facing up and his back parallel to the ground as they cart him quickly past the frame.
He would be dead just minutes later.
The surveillance camera appears to have malfunctioned, failing to record audio for more than 10 minutes after the deputy's cruiser arrives. A guard attempts to talk to an unresponsive Burdine but then the audio fades out and stops.
It's a gap in the tape — at the precise moment of importance — that would make Nixon blush.
Detective Sean O'Connell, who was with the Fremont Police Department at the time, never returned any of Jess Burdine's calls after an initial meeting with him the next day, when Jess Burdine was told his son was dead.
O'Connell was present at the autopsy by Lucas County deputy coroner Cynthia Beisser, however, and Beisser's conclusions mirrored the narrative jail officials and police provided her.