Pizza robbery leads to suspect in murder of Warren man
A robbery in Cortland led police to a suspect wanted for the murder of a Warren man whose body was discovered in a remote area of Bristolville last week.
Eighteen-year-old Austin Taylor Burke was arrested early Wednesday morning and charged with the murder of Kenneth Brandon Sample.
Cortland police say they arrested Burke following the robbery of the Pizza Joe's on West Main Street Tuesday night.
State troopers, Bazetta police, Sheriff deputies and Warren police worked together to track down Burke to a location near the pizza shop.
"They followed a fresh scent with Warren PD's K9 unit to a location where Austin Burke was found," Paul Monroe said, Trumbull County sheriff.
A woman living in an apartment nearby says police pounded on her door at around 11 p.m. and alerted her to the ongoing search. She says they advised her to lock her door and stay inside.
"I went back up and there were cops everywhere all around the apartment, it was scary," Morgan Nichols said, of Cortland.
The general manager of Pizza Joe's tells 21 News she's thankful no one was hurt.
"So much could have happened last night, but had they not did what they were supposed to do and what they needed to do, it could have been much worse," Stephanie Kerstetter said.
Monroe says the homicide took place in Bristolville, where Sample was found dead last week with a gunshot wound to his head at the Grand River Wildlife Area.
Monroe would not discuss a possible motive, but sources close to 21 News say Burke and Sample knew each other prior to this investigation.
Sample was originally reported missing by his parents on June 12.
His parents say they last saw their son the evening of June 11, as he left home saying he was driving a friend to Akron. The next morning, Sample still had not returned home.
"I called the cell phone it rang and rang, then went to voice mail," said Sample's Father Kenneth Sample in a previous interview. "So then I hung up and texted him, asked him where he was at. I got a text back saying 'on my way home."
A day later, his car was found by the Niles police near the Greenway bike trail off of State Street.
A few days later Warren police and the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office were reportedly called out to investigate a body found near the game lands.
Burke is expected to appear in Newton Falls Municipal Court Thursday morning for his arraignment.
Following the positive identification of their son, Sample's parents told 21 News said that their son had a good heart but dealt with depression and addiction- which caused him to get mixed up with the wrong crowd.
A memorial is scheduled for sample on Friday evening from 4:30 until 6:30 with a service to follow.