Burke moved to new jail cell

Officials wary of escape, attempt to bring in contraband

WARREN — Trumbull County Jail officials — wary an escape plan or attempt to bring contraband into the facility was being formulated after listening to a jailhouse phone conversation — moved a man waiting to be sentenced for aggravated murder to a different cell.

Austin Burke, 19, of Bristolville, was convicted earlier this month in the June aggravated murder of Brandon Sample, 22, of Warren. Burke is scheduled to be sentenced on the charge, and and two counts each of robbery and having a weapon under disability, 11 a.m. Tuesday before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew W. Logan.

The jail administrator, Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office Major Dan Mason, said a security officer monitoring phone calls heard a call between Burke and his girlfriend on Monday.

“They discussed wanting her to come to the alley by the cell he was in and described where to go to her. So we decided to move him to stop anything that might occur,” Mason said.

When Burke was moved, corrections officers conducted a routine search and found a metal fixture in the cell had been tampered with, a piece of window framing appeared to be sharpened and caulking from the window was pulled away, Mason said.

“There is a detective looking into it, to see if there was an attempt to make a weapon, to escape from the jail, or to damage the window enough to get contraband into the jail,” Mason said.

This is the third major incident since Burke has been locked up, Mason said.

In December, he was charged with misdemeanor assault in Warren Municipal Court for a fist fight with another inmate. He pleaded guilty in January. In August, he was charged after corrections officers found a homemade “shank” in his cell, a spoon handle sharpened, Mason said.

Prosecutors cited Burke’s time in the jail in a sentencing recommendation requesting Burke spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole.