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Prosecution tells jury Burdette was on drugs, watching porn when he crashed into LMPD officer

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Roger Burdette in the courtroom, as his murder trial begins in Louisville. Oct. 26, 2021

The Metropolitan Sewer District truck driven by Roger Burdette on Dec. 24, 2018 after it hit Det. Deidre Mengedoht’s Louisville Metro Police cruiser. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – For the prosecution, the murder case against former Metropolitan Sewer District worker Roger Burdette for slamming into a Louisville Metro Police detective and killing her in a fiery crash seems to be a slam dunk.

He didn’t try to brake or swerve when he barreled into Det. Deidre Mengedoht’s cruiser, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryane Conroy told a Jefferson Circuit Court jury on Tuesday in her opening statement.

“This was no car accident,” she told the jury of nine women and five men. “This was no mistake. This was a crime. … He disregarded the safety of everyone else.”

But Burdette’s defense attorneys claim the case isn’t that simple and that investigators sought to blame him for Mengedoht’s murder as soon as they arrived on the scene, regardless of the evidence.

“It didn’t matter what the investigation showed,” Defense attorney Ryan Dischinger told the jury in his opening. “It didn’t matter what the evidence was. At the end of the day, this is tragic … but not all tragedies are murder.”

Dischinger said Burdette was not driving under the influence, that he was on a “therapeutic level” of drugs, including hydrocodone.

And while there was a pornographic video playing on his phone, “it doesn’t mean Roger was watching it,” Dischinger told jurors.

Burdette, who was not injured in the wreck, failed a field sobriety test and originally told police he had taken non-narcotic prescription drugs. He was charged with murder, wanton endangerment and DUI and fired by MSD about a month after the crash.

The officer had pulled over a pickup truck when the tanker, driven by Burdette, smashed into her car from behind.

The defense told jurors the place the crash occurred does not have an emergency shoulder, it is dark and difficult to stop. 

But Conroy said Burdette never tried to stop because he was watching a porn video.

“Roger Burdette may not have intended to commit murder, but that’s exactly what he did,” she told jurors. https://www.wdrb.com/in-depth/prosecution-tells-jury-burdette-was-on-drugs-watching-porn-when-he-crashed-into-lmpd-officer/article_eeb21514-3698-11ec-a866-17cb2f5a190f.html

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