Burkhart back in jail under revoked bond

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The principal in the infamous ‘shock collar case’ is back in jail under a revoked bond. Wayne Carol Burkhart, 47, who recently underwent what turned into a revocation hearing in Union County court, has lost representation — Cookeville attorney Ivy Gardner requested she be released from the case.

Burkhart, whose new trial was subsequently cancelled, now sits in Claiborne County Jail, awaiting his April 16 status hearing.

His conviction in 2008 was set aside in 2016, by agreement with the state. The case effectively backtracked to ‘square one’ when Claiborne Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton overturned the verdict and remanded Burkhart back to jail under an initial $500,000 bond.

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The bond was later reduced to $100,000.

The case became a national media sensation as the sordid details of alleged shock by dog collar and incest were made public.

The Grand Jury indicted Burkhart in December of 2007 on 41 counts. The true bill included five counts of aggravated child abuse, 14 counts of rape and 14 counts of incest.

Burkhart was initially convicted and sentenced to 70 years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to 50 years.

He filed an appeal in January of 2011, charging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence, the denial for a mistrial and the use of consecutive sentencing when determining the length of his prison term.

The appellate court upheld the ruling, however.

Assistant district attorney Graham Wilson explained, to his understanding, the circumstances surrounding Gardner’s request to be removed from the case. Apparently, Gardner had been retained through the court under Burkhart’s indigent standing.

It looks as though Burkhart was able, however, to retain a private investigator, putting into question his inability to pay for an attorney, as well.

According to Wilson, Sexton decided at the end of the hearing to revoke Burkhart’s bond.

Sexton, who was in Union County court that day, held the hearing there so that the matter of representation could be ironed out prior to going to trial.

The Claiborne Progress is following this story closely, and will have more information as it becomes available.