Charles Burdsall: Cincinnati police officer's killers up for parole

Police want public to oppose release

CINCINNATI  - Two men who murdered a Cincinnati police officer and wounded a 19-year-old on a ride-along with him may soon get parole hearings.

But not if Capt. Paul Neudigate, District 5 Commander, can help it. He wants the public to contact the parole board and oppose their release.

(See how at the bottom of the story).

Wayne Reed shot Officer Charles Burdsall, a 29-year-old father of three, and David Mellon, another officer's son, on a Clifton Heights street on July 15, 1978. Reed and Russell Bell had just robbed a convenience store when Burdsall pulled them over on McMicken Avenue.

"Mr. Wayne Reed does not deserve a second chance. Officer Burdsall is never going to get another chance," Neudigate told WCPO's Tony Mirones on Friday.

"This is an officer that was cut down in the prime of his life doing what we expect police officers to do.

"We're looking to the public to make their voice known that this individual needs to stay behind bars for the rest of his natural life."

VIDEO: Watch Tony Mirones' report in the player above.

Reed shot Burdsall shot three times as the officer walked up to the robbers' car.

Mellon was grazed in the back.

As Burdsall lay dying in the street, Mellon picked up the officer's gun and fired six shots at Reed and Bell as they drove away. Some of the bullets hit their car and that helped police track them down.

The shootings took place just after midnight Sunday. An off-duty cop at the King Kwik store at McMicken and Dixmyth (now Martin Luther King Drive) thought two men were casing the store for a robbery, so he called for help.

He was right. Both Reed and Bell had guns, and Reed testified later that he was going to shoot any cop who got in the way.  

Here's what happened next, according to retired Lt. Stephen R. Kramer's report at - the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society website.

As Reed and Bell drove away from the store, Burdsall, a Vietnam veteran who had 5 ½ years on the force, stopped them at 3001 West McMicken.

Reed, the driver, got out and shot Burdsall in the mouth. As the officer fell, Reed shot him in the side and back.

Reed then fired at Mellon, got back in the car and drove off.

After Mellon shot back, the 19-year-old picked up Burdsall’s radio and called for help.

Mellon had trouble remembering the car number.

Burdsall said, “508, 508.”

That was the last thing Burdsall said. He died four hours later. 

Reed and Bell were sentenced to die in the electric chair, but the Supreme Court found Ohio's death penalties unconstitutional and ordered death sentences commuted to life imprisonment with the opportunity for parole. 

They have been in prison for almost 36 years.

Reed, now 62, and Bell, 63, will attend a hearing next week to determine if they are eligible for parole.

How to contact the parole board

You must contact the parole board by July 31 to weigh in on Reed's and Bell's hearings.

> You can send emails through the Hamilton County prosecutor's website. Send separate emails for Reed and Bell .

> Or mail a letter to Ohio Parole Board,  Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43222. Include the inmates' names and numbers:
Russell Bell, Inmate No. A154142, and Wayne Reed, Inmate No. A153741.

RELATED: See the prison profiles for Bell and Reed

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