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Published: Tuesday, 6/3/2008

Sandusky County Coroner's ruling prompts lawsuit

FREMONT - Jess Burdine, of Oak Harbor, Ohio, is suing the Sandusky County Coroner's Office for what his attorney says was the wrong determination in the 2007 death of Mr. Burdine's son, Craig.

Craig Burdine, 37, died after he was arrested Aug. 11 by Fremont police, who picked him up during a domestic disturbance on Sycamore Street in Fremont.

He was taken to the county jail, where he fought with sheriff's deputies, who shot him with a Taser gun three times, according to reports.

During the struggle, Mr. Burdine stopped breathing and was taken to Fremont Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Dr. John Wukie, Sandusky County coroner, ruled the death an accident, saying Mr. Burdine died from "combined drug intoxication" and a "drug-induced excited delirium."

But Dr. Michael Baden, director of the medicolegal investigations unit of the New York State Police, who was hired by Jeffrey Nunnari, Jess Burdine's attorney, said that Craig Burdine's death was the result of "asphyxia" as a result of a severe neck compression put on him by one of the deputies who restrained him.

The complaint, filed last week in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court, asks for a hearing to request a court order directing the coroner to change the cause of death on Mr. Burdine's death certificate.

Jess Burdine and his attorney did not return calls for comment.

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