Before sentencing, Burke asks for new trial


Staff report

WARREN

Less than a week before he is sentenced on charges of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, Austin Burke is asking a judge to overturn those convictions and grant him a new trial.

Attorneys for Burke, 19, of Bristolville, filed the motions Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, where Burke was convicted March 9 by a jury before Judge Andrew Logan of the June 12 murder of Brandon Sample, 22, who was found in the Grand River wildlife area in Bristol; and a robbery June 20 of a Pizza Joe’s in Cortland.

The motions were filed in Judge Logan’s courtroom. Burke is slated to be sentenced for both crimes at 11 a.m. Tuesday. He could face life in prison with no parole.

Burke’s attorneys claim he is entitled to a new trial because Judge Logan allowed jurors to hear both cases rather than separating them so they could be heard individually; that firearms evidence was submitted improperly; and that an expert’s testimony for prosecutors was improper.

In asking for a new trial, attorneys said the evidence does not support the prosecution’s claims that Burke was responsible for both crimes.

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