Drunk driver in girl's death seeks early release

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 12, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
A Jamestown man who pleaded guilty in 2008 in the drunk-driving death of 8-year-old Patty Burgdoff is asking to be released from prison early.
Ross Edward Neese received a prison sentence of more than 12 years. But he has submitted a commutation request to the Governor’s Clemency Office, which processes all requests for pardons and commutations.
In 2006, Neese was charged with driving drunk and causing a collision that killed Patty Burgdoff and injured three others on U.S. 29 in front of Gary’s Barbecue in China Grove.
The little girl’s family members are upset that Neese is asking to go free before serving his sentence.
“We are not going to lay down and let him walk,” said Patricia Burgdoff, Patty’s grandmother.
She received a letter dated April 9 from the clemency office notifying her that Neese had filed an application for commutation.
Burgdoff was told she and any other family member or party involved could provide their views on the matter within 30 days.
She said her son Donnie, Patty’s father, is livid.
The clemency office also made Patricia Burgdoff aware of a petition circulating that supports Neese’s early release.
The family has created its own petition online, Patty’s Petition, via social networking site Facebook.
The trial began in early October 2008. On the third day of trial, Neese accepted a plea deal.
Unlike pardons, which can be granted after the completion of a sentence, commutations are for people currently serving an active sentence who request that the sentence be reduced.
If the request is granted, the convicted person’s time could be reduced by any number of years, months or days, or that person could be released immediately.
For more details see Friday’s Post.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.