Nashua man with criminal past now faces manslaughter charge
NASHUA — A city man with an extensive criminal background is accused of killing a local woman, wrapping her in plastic and concealing the body in her Chestnut Street apartment earlier this summer.
Daniel J. Burke, 51, of 23 Temple St., Apt. 18, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and two counts of falsifying physical evidence in connection with the death of Christina Hill.
During Burke's arraignment Wednesday in 9th Circuit Court, Nashua District Division, prosecutors unveiled Burke's extensive criminal history involving violence against women.
Authorities are not commenting on the connection between Burke and Hill. However, police say that sometime between July 4 and July 20, Burke recklessly caused the death of Hill, 52, by shoving her into a cabinet, causing her to strike her head and obtain injuries that resulted in her death.
Burke is then accused of concealing blood and decomposition fluids by wiping them off the kitchen floor, discarding the cleaning material, wrapping Hill's body in a plastic covering and concealing the corpse, according to court documents.
A police affidavit detailing the crime has been sealed at the courthouse.
On Tuesday, Burke was arraigned via video and was represented by public defenders Jacki Smith and Paul Borchardt.
Attorneys Kathleen Broderick and Leslie Gill of the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office were present for the arraignment. Broderick requested that bail be set at $50,000 cash or surety for Burke, which was granted by Judge Thomas Bamberger.
According to Broderick, the state has concerns that Burke could be a flight risk if released, noting he has contacts in Florida and Massachusetts.
"The defendant does have a criminal history," she said.
In 2010, Burke was convicted of violating his probation and resisting arrest, and in 2006 he was convicted of violating a protective order. Also in 2006, he was convicted of five counts of simple assault and sentenced to 365 days in jail, all of which was deferred.
He also had an arrest in 1995 and a conviction in 1988 for abuse, criminal threatening and breaking and entering that resulted in a three-month suspended jail sentence.
In addition, Broderick said Burke has a history of failing to appear for court proceedings.
While the motive behind Hill's death is still not being released, authorities say her body could have been inside her residence at 32 Chestnut St., Apt. 15, for two weeks before it was discovered.
According to a district court clerk, Burke has 25 cases on file at the Nashua courthouse. The New Hampshire Union Leader was provided with some of those files, which indicate that Burke has had substance abuse problems and has committed violence against women for more than a decade.
About seven years ago, Burke was arrested after a domestic violence incident involving Beth Giera, 52. Giera had filed for and was granted a protection order against Burke after he repeatedly punched her in the head on Feb. 27, 2006, while she sat on a couch at her Nashua residence.
At the time of the assault, Burke told Giera, "If I'm going down, you're coming with me," according to a police affidavit on file at the courthouse.
After that incident, Burke received a deferred sentence and eventually received a certificate of achievement for completing the Crossroads Chemical Dependency Residential Program in March of 2007.
According to court documents, Burke, who previously resided at 1 Clinton St., Unit 4, had been married to Lillian Lacasse, but they were previously divorced. Burke's mother, Mary Kearney Burke, died less than two weeks ago after a battle with Alzheimer's Disease, according to an online obituary.
Burke will be back in court on Sept. 23 for a probable cause hearing. If he posts bail, he has been ordered to have no contact with the victim's family and sign of waiver of extradition before his release.