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Only on 11: Fremont cold case brought to attorney general by victim’s father

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Craig Burdine Craig Burdine
FREMONT, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A seven-year-old cold case is again in the spotlight. A man who police say threw others into a bonfire died shortly after being taken into police custody. The father of the victim has taken the case to the attorney general.

Craig Burdine, 37, died in August of 2007. The official cause of death is cardiac arrest, but Burdine's father says he believes his son died of asphyxiation at the hands of a prison guard.

On August 11 2007 police say Burdine tossed a man into a bonfire. He was in such a panic state that it took six police officers and a stun gun to subdue him. After arriving at the Sandusky County Jail, an ambulance was called to take him to the hospital but he died en route.

Coroner reports say he died of an overdose of alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamines. Burdines father ordered a private autopsy and the pathologist came to a different conclusion.

"He says, ‘there's no doubt about it that Craig's death was done at the hands of a person, and it could have been avoidable, so it is homicide,'" said Craig Burdine's father, Jess Burdine.

Jess Burdine filed a civil suit which was thrown out. He then brought his evidence to the Attorney General's Office. He says the key to this case is the testimony of two witnesses, other jail prisoners who say they saw a prison guard put Craig Burdine into a strangle hold shortly after arriving.

"Both of the witnesses have said in deposition that they believe Craig was dead before the EMS ever got there," said Jess Burdine.

Though almost seven years have passed, Jess Burdine says he won't rest until justice for his son is served.

"I'm just not going to allow these people to get away with it," said Jess Burdine.

The grand jury has not decided if they will issue indictments on the prison guard.

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