Burks found not guilty by reason of insanity in shooting of fellow officer

Gloria Burks
Gloria Burks

Former Toledo police Sgt. Gloria Burks was found not guilty by reason of insanity to charges connected to shooting a fellow officer.

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart ruled Monday afternoon that Ms. Burks did not understand the wrongfulness of her actions because she was having a seizure. She was accused of shooting Sgt. Jeffery Bechtel at the end of a shift inside the Toledo Police's Scott Park district station.

Ms. Burks, 51, was charged with felonious assault with a gun specification and an alternative charge of assault after the shooting of Sergeant Bechtel once through his right arm on Sept. 20, 2010.

A March 28 hearing date has been set to determine if hospitalization for Ms. Burks is warranted.

Assistant County Prosecutor Frank Spryszak noted during closing arguments Friday that Ms. Burks was diagnosed in October, 2008, with complex partial seizures, or a form of epilepsy. He said evidence showed that since her diagnosis, she continually ignored her medical doctor's concerns that her job as a police officer put herself and others at risk because it required her to drive and carry a gun.

During the trial, Sergeant Bechtel and Deputy Chief Diana Ruiz-Krause testified that Sergeant Burks was nonresponsive to oral commands during the incident and appeared to be dazed. They said nothing appeared to prompt the incident, and Sergeant Burks was on full active duty. Two clinical psychologists — one called by the court, the other by the defense — testified that in their opinions, Sergeant Burks was in an altered state of consciousness and was unaware of her actions.