Long Island woman poured antifreeze into estranged hubby's wine bottles, soda, in murder attempts: prosecutors
A Long Island mom tried to snuff out her estranged husband three times by dosing his drinks with antifreeze, Suffolk County prosecutors charged Thursday.
Renee Burke, 40, even recruited her 8-year-old daughter as an accomplice, prosecutors alleged in a seven-count indictment.
According to prosecutors, Burke and her husband, Matthew, were going through an acrimonious divorce, and a Family Court judge gave him custody of their children, hitting Renee Burke with orders of protection limiting her visitation rights.
Prosecutors said she used her cell phone to search the internet for “what liquids from cars can kill a human” and “antifreeze with alcohol,” and on Sept. 6, put her plan into motion, slipping antifreeze into a bottle of wine.
When Matthew Burke started to sip from his wine glass, he spat it out and dumped the bottle because it smelled and tasted strange, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Santomartino said in court.
He thought the wine had gone bad, but the couple’s son 4-year-old son, Tristan, told his babysitter “mommy poured Prestone into daddy’s wine,” Matthew Burke’s lawyer, Rick Stafford, told the Daily News.
He rushed to Stonybrook Hospital with his children to get checked out, and contacted the police.
Just days later, on Sept. 10, the husband tasted and smelled chemicals in a glass of Pepsi, so he had his brother set up security cameras, Stafford said.
On Sept. 12, Renee Burke was caught on video pouring a pink liquid from two baby bottles into a bottle of wine, Santomartino said in court. Her daughter, Isabella, 8, helped her remove the cork, while Tristan waited alone in her car, he said.
“You see her in the video try to poison him. You see her wiping her fingerprints off the bottle, off the corkscrew, off the cabinets,” Stafford said.
Cops arrested the wife and charged her with burglary — and found several bottles with traces of ethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze, in the husband’s home.
They then got a search warrant for the wife’s Holbrook home, where they found a bottle of pink Prestone antifreeze in her kitchen, Suffolk D.A. Timothy Sini said.
Stafford said Matthew Burke is happy with the indictment.
“Having your wife try to kill you and using the children to help you, that’s very nerve-wracking,” Stafford said. “He was a nervous wreck. He was scared. He had (police) put a panic button in his house.”
The wife, meanwhile, tried to explain away what she did by saying she was pouring fruit juice into his wine bottle “to water it down,” Sini said.
Suffolk County Acting Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen set her bail at $200,000 cash or $400,000 bond.
Burke, who faces attempted murder and other charges, could spend up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.
Burke’s lawyer, Joel Salinger, denied the charges in court Thursday, suggesting Matthew Burke might have planted the Prestone bottle in his kitchen, Newsday reported.
He declined comment Thursday night.