A Scioto County man currently serving time in prison has been served an indictment notice charging him with murder.
Jason Burgess, 45, of Portsmouth, was indicted on Aug. 26, 2016 by a Scioto County grand jury for murder, felonious assault, having a weapon while under disability and two counts of tampering with evidence.
On Dec. 29, 2013 the body of Sherman D. Martin, 45, of Portsmouth, was found shot to death on the back porch at 3171 Ohio 139, Portsmouth, Burgess’ house where both were staying at the time.
“We called BCI&I (Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation). The Crime Scene came and helped assess. They did the crime scene and started an ongoing investigation,” Detective Jodi Conkel said.
How do you explain to people why it takes so long to develop a case and get actual charges?
“I’ve been working non-stop on this since then,” Conkel said. “A lot of people get discouraged with a case. Some cases we can solve very quickly because there’s evidence or people saw something — but a lot of times you’re dealing with a situation that might involve drugs or people who are on the run because they’re wanted. We’ve got people who are on drugs, or people who might be scared of someone so they don’t come forward. There’s a lot of variables. You’ve got to jump through a lot of hoops and hurdles to get the end result.”
She said she treats each case as if it involves her own family.
Captain John Murphy of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office said it takes time to develop a case and the way cases are solved on TV are often not reality.
Conkel credited the atmosphere at the sheriff’s office, which allows her to work the hours needed to pursue a case.
‘I think we’re really lucky because here they allow us to work whatever hours we need to,” Conkel said. “A lot of people think that we just put in our eight hours and go home, but our supervisors, if we’ve got a lead, it’s unlimited – do what you have to do. They put the case and the victims first.”
The suspect is currently serving a four-year sentence in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections as a result of the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force along with the U.S. Major Crimes Task Force arresting him with 66 grams of tar heroin in Pickaway County on April 20, 2016.
“He just pled out on that case and is currently in prison,” Conkel said. “Once we got the indictment yesterday (Thursday), it was served on him at the prison.”
Conkel said Burgess would be brought to court at a later date for arraignment, and then the legal process will begin, climaxing in a trial.
Conkel said when a case takes a lot of time to develop, it is a relief when an arrest is made.
“It’s very rewarding, but the main thing is the family,” Conkel said. “Every family wants a good outcome. They want to be able to have closure. Regardless of who you’re dealing with and what the situation may be, they have family. His (Martin) family deserves justice. To be able to call his mother and tell her someone’s going to be charged, brings satisfaction. I’m just happy for her and the family.”
To take that point further, Conkel said even when she has leads in a case, she is unable to share the information with the family, which can seem at times to mean no progress is being made.
“I can only imagine as a victim or your family member is a victim, it’s frustrating,” Conkel said. “They may think we’re not working on it.”
Murphy was complimentary of the work on the case done by Conkel
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.