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Convicted murderer under investigation after shank found in jail cell

Austin Burke has since lost some privileges inside the Trumbull County Jail, including visitation

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) - A man already convicted of murder in Trumbull County could be in more trouble after what officers found inside his jail cell this week.

Less than a week away from his sentencing, a criminal investigation is underway after items that could be used as weapons were found inside Austin Burke's cell.

"Usually in this period, the inmates are behaving and it just shows what a troubling individual he is that he's still plotting crimes as he's awaiting sentencing," said Major Dan Mason, with the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office.

Earlier this week, a security officer overheard a phone conversation between Burke and his girlfriend who testified during his trial.

"He was giving her the exact location of where his cell was located in the jail and wanted her to be outside so there could be something that transpired. We weren't exactly sure what it was," Mason said.

Officials moved him to a different part of the facility and searched the cell he had been staying in. Mason said they found a metal fixture removed from the wall, a broken fingernail clipper, caulking scraped from the window and a seven-inch piece of metal used to hold the window pane in place that appeared to be sharpened.

"We're not sure if he planned to use that as a weapon, if he was trying to take the window out."

Mason said detectives are doing a full investigation.

"We're looking at a couple of the other inmates that were in the pod to see...what their involvement, if any, was in this incident."

Burke has since lost some privileges inside the jail, including visitation, as detectives work to figure out what was going on.

"There's several possibilities as to what he may have been intending to do," Mason said. "Whether to try to pry the window out, he could have been trying to get enough of the window broken away that contraband could be passed through the window and this is all part of the ongoing investigation."

Burke was convicted in the murder of Brandon Sample a few weeks ago.

He's set to be sentenced in that case and for a different incident of having a deadly weapon inside the jail next week.


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