A New York woman is accused of trying to murder her estranged husband by pouring antifreeze into wine and soda bottles in his home on multiple occasions including in the presence of their children.
Renee Burke, 40, of Holbrook, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to attempted murder, burglary, assault, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of criminal contempt.
Prosecutors said she broke into Matthew Burke's apartment on at least three occasions in September and was caught on surveillance camera putting antifreeze in his drinks in an attempt to kill him. Matthew has custody of their 4-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. A judge issued an order of protection Thursday that does not allow Burke to have any contact with the children.
"It's not only disturbing that the defendant attempted to murder her estranged husband, but that she did so in the presence of children," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement Thursday.
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After one of the incidents, their son allegedly told a babysitter, “Mommy put something in Daddy’s drink."
Surveillance video from the husband's apartment shows their daughter holding baby bottles containing antifreeze that Burke then uses to pour into a wine bottle, authorities said.
Matthew Burke drank from a glass of wine and a glass of soda mixed with antifreeze on two separate occasions but spat out the liquids because they tasted and smelled strange, prosecutors said.
On Sept. 10, he contacted police who recovered the drinks and suggested he install surveillance cameras in his home, Sini said.
Burke was arrested in September and charged with second-degree burglary after being seen on camera inside the apartment on Sept. 12, authorities said, adding they found antifreeze in her kitchen.
Police recovered several beverage containers from the husband's apartment and sent them to a laboratory for testing, which revealed the presence of ethylene glycol, a compound found in antifreeze.
Burke also allowed investigators to search her cellphone, authorities said, which revealed internet searches for “antifreeze with alcohol,” “what liquids for cars can kill a human,” and “can antifreeze kill s himan (sic).”
She was ordered held on bail of $200,000 cash or $400,000 bond.
Her attorney, Joel Salinger, declined to comment on the case to NBC News when reached by phone Thursday.
Burke posted bond and left the court without commenting.
She faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count. Her next scheduled court appearance is Feb. 7.
Janelle Griffith is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.