|For Immediate Release
January 24, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
PAROLE DENIED FOR INMATE WHO BEAT TWO ROOMMATES WITH BASEBALL BAT WITHOUT PROVOCATION
SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (Board) denied parole today for three years for an inmate who beat his two roommates with a baseball bat without provocation. John Joseph Burke, 65, is currently being held at Ironwood State Prison, Blythe. Burke was sentenced March 7, 2008, to seven years to life in state prison after he was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of aggravated mayhem. He will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2016.
The case was originally prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Holly Woesner. Deputy District Attorney Yvette Patko appeared at the hearing on behalf of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) to oppose parole.
2005 Aggravated Mayhem
On the morning of Oct. 10, 2005, Burke attacked his two roommates, Peter L. and Robert S., by beating them with a wooden baseball bat and left them bleeding on the floor. He then called 911. Garden Grove police officers arrived at the scene and observed bloodstains covering the walls, couch, and floor. The two victims were both bleeding heavily from head lacerations.
When questioned at the scene by officers, Burke admitted to attacking the victims because he claimed that they were devil-worshipers, liars, and that one of them had broken into his room and damaged a guitar. Officers determined that the inmate was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he attacked his roommates.
Victim Robert S. suffered a laceration to his head and was hospitalized for one day. Victim Peter L. suffered a laceration to his head and bruising on his chest, abdomen, and arm. He underwent multiple surgeries including the removal of part of his skull and some bruised brain tissue, and a tracheostomy. Peter L. suffered from short-term memory loss, blurriness in one eye, dizziness, and resided in an assisted living facility as a result of his injuries until his death in 2009.
Burke pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges, but the jury determined that he was sane at the time of the crime. The conviction was affirmed on appeal.
Threat to Public Safety and Failure to Accept Responsibility
The inmate has failed to show remorse for his crime or accept responsibility for the attack. Burke maintains that he is the true victim because his roommates drove him to assault them and he believes his incarceration is, therefore, unfair. The inmate refuses to participate in psychological treatment.