BURKE TRIAL | Prosecutor refutes charges with questions of his own

WARREN — The assistant prosecutor in the Austin Burke aggravated murder case refuted several suggestions by defense counsel today that police failed to check out additional leads in the case through testing of the victim's clothing and search warrants of the suspect's house.

Burke, 19, of Bristolville, is on trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated murder and two counts of aggravated robbery in the June 12 death of Brandon Sample, 22, and the June 20 robbery of the Pizza Joe's restaurant in Cortland.

Chris Becker, assistant county prosecutor, countered 90 minutes of defense questions to Warren Police Detective John Greaver with questions of his own.

Why didn't you test a tarp near the body of Brandon Sample after his decomposed body was found in a remote area of the Grand River wildlife area in Bristol Township?

There was no evidence that Sample had been wrapped up in anything and brought to that location, Greaver said.

Why not test Sample's clothes for gunshot residue, Becker asked.

Because the county coroner had already ruled that Sample died from gunshot wounds so it wasn't necessary, Greaver agreed.

Why not search Burke's house for evidence, Becker asked.

Because there was never any information suggesting that there would be any there, and probable cause is necessary for a judge to approve a search warrant, Greaver said.

When the trial resumes at 1 p.m., Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk is expected to take the witness stand.

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