Police not charging teen for admitted altercation

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Officials will not pursue criminal charges against a teen who admitted to being in an altercation in April that has hospitalized Eric Burrell, 39, of Clovis.

The teen came forward after reading newspaper reports and told police he beat Burrell in self-defense, Clovis Police Chief Dan Blair said.

Police are basing much of their findings on a polygraph examination the 17-year-old voluntarily took. It showed him to be truthful in his story, Blair said Thursday.

“We don’t believe this is a prosecutable case,” Blair said.

Roberta Burrell said investigator’s findings in her husband’s case do not add up.

“They’re trying to tell me that one 17-year-old did this to a 39-year-old man,” she said. “I know my husband too well. It wasn’t just him (the teen acting alone).”

Burrell spent more than 10 days in a coma at a Lubbock hospital, his wife of 21 years said.

Doctors told family he received several severe blows to the head, she said, and he suffered bleeding and bruising of the brain.

He is making a slow recovery and suffering from memory issues, she said. He will need long-term, inpatient rehabilitation, she said.

Burrell was found April 26 by a motorist, bloodied and battered, walking along Stateline Road about two miles north of Farwell. He told officers with the Parmer County Sheriff’s department two men had beaten him, police have said.

The youth turned over clothing he was wearing at the time, including shoes with blood on them and led police to the location where the incident occurred, the investigator’s report said.

“Until other leads or information is gained, at this time we have nothing to file charges on,” Blair said.

The severity of her husband’s beating and the appearance of defensive wounds on his arms make Roberta Burrell believe, regardless of what led up to the event, it went well beyond self-defense.

“We want (the teen) to be convicted of a crime. Somebody’s got to pay for what they did just like everybody else does,” she said.