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Burg makes appearance at status conference

Nicholas "Nick" Burg, 30, of Fallbrook, appeared in court Monday, April 11 for a status conference regarding the case against him for suspicion of murder in the first degree.

During the conference, Burg sat silently at the attorney's table with his public defender Jill Kovaly, never addressing the court during the less than two-minute hearing.

Kovaly said that she wanted it on record that Tony Campbell from AC Investigations worked on the case and could be called as a witness.

"I just wanted that on record," she said.

Burg's next court appearance was scheduled for Monday, May 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Burg was arrested July 16, 2021, after deputies located the body of a man, later identified as 56-year-old Robert Berry Pierce (also known as Bobby Berry Pierce), buried on the property where Burg was living in the 400 block of Ridge Drive in Fallbrook.

Court records show Pierce's cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. CBS Investigative Producer David Gotfredson reported that in a motion filed by Kovaly, a baseball bat was found underneath Burg's bed with the victim's blood on the bat and that the DNA could link Burg to the crime.

According to published reports, Burg was on a 5150 mental health hold in the days leading up to his arrest.

Authorities returned to the Ridge Drive Property Tuesday, Aug. 3 when San Diego County Sheriff's Department officers, along with search and rescue cadaver dogs were at the property in the 400 block of Ridge Drive investigating a tip that there were more bodies buried on the property, though none were found.

San Diego County Sheriff's Department Homicide Detective Lt. Thomas Seiver, who was on the scene, said that his department heard that there could potentially be more bodies buried at the location and it was their duty to investigate the tips.

"Anytime anyone buries a body, and we have information from the community, we had information from the community that indicated enough to us to compel us to come out and see if the allegations were true," Seiver said. "You can't just let those lay. If you dig one up, the possibility of another one is not too farfetched."

Investigators used three cadaver dogs, heavy equipment, sonar and other means to conduct their investigation at the property that day.

"We had our search and rescue cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radar that we utilized and so we utilized all those devices, we searched the property and took the evidence that we needed to take, but there were no additional bodies found," he said.

Anonymous information regarding more bodies as well as an acid tank located on the property was given to Village News and Tony Campbell of AC Investigations, but according to Seiver, no evidence was found of an acid tank or more bodies.

"... I know there were community concerns about acid tanks and all that, but it was just community talk," Seiver said.

At the time, Seiver said they were still looking at the connection between the two men. Due to the pending trial, any information on how the two were connected has not been released.

While Berg awaits his next court date, friends close to him say they believe he is innocent, and the real killer may still be on the loose.

Burg's advocates point out that while he has priors for DUI and theft of vehicles, he has no violent priors and, in their mind, it is highly unlikely that he would commit violence against another human being.

"If anything, he was self-harming," said one anonymous source who spoke to Village News on the condition of anonymity.

In the complaint against Burg, Prosecutors allege that Pierce was killed July 12 or 13, according to court records.

Burg, who pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, is not eligible for release or bail and is being held in the Vista Detention Facility. He faces 33 years to life if convicted of all charges, which, in addition to the charge of murder in the first degree include felony vehicle theft, felony possession of a stolen vehicle, and a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, according to court records.

Village News Publisher Julie Reeder and Tony Campbell of AC Investigations contributed to this story.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected].


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