Trumbull County judge denies convicted killer’s motion for new trial

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Judge Andrew Logan denied Austin Burke's request for a new trial and post-conviction relief

Austin Burke_530468

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Trumbull County judge has denied a new trial for the man convicted of killing 22-year-old Brandon Sample in Bristolville last year. 

Judge Andrew Logan denied Austin Burke’s request for a new trial and post-conviction relief earlier this week.

Burke cited issues of ineffective counsel, alleged jury misconduct and alleged witness malfeasance in his motion, but Judge Logan ruled that he failed to establish substantive grounds for relief.

Burke is serving a life prison sentence with parole eligibility after 47 years. He also received an additional 11-year prison sentence for a shank that officers found inside his jail cell.

Burke was convicted of shooting and killing Sample. He was also convicted of an armed robbery at the Pizza Joe’s in Cortland in the days that followed the murder.

In his motion for a new trial, Burke cited cell phone records that he said were not provided to his legal team. According to the judge’s ruling, however, the defense provided these records with the exception of records that were lost and unable to be pulled from the defendant’s phone.

Burke also raised an issue about one of the jurors, who reportedly knew some of the kids through her experience as a driving instructor. The judge ruled that the court had determined that the juror could remain impartial, and Burke’s defense did not exercise any challenges to excuse her.

The judge also looked into accusations that the crime was committed by another perpetrator but wrote that sealed records “conclusively and irrefutably” dispute those allegations.

Burke will be 77 years old before he’s eligible for parole.

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