Renee Burke, of Holbrook, has since been charged for allegedly making several attempts to kill her estranged husband

By Joelle Goldstein
January 04, 2019 03:16 AM
Renee Burke
Suffolk County DA

A Long Island mom has been charged after she allegedly attempted to kill her estranged husband several times by breaking into his home and poisoning his drinks.

Renee Burke of Holbrook was in the midst of a nasty divorce and custody battle with her husband Matthew Burke when she allegedly decided to poison him, prosecutors allege, according to Newsday.

The 40-year-old mom-of-two allegedly broke into Matthew’s home on three separate occasions in September to spike his drinks and enlisted the help of her 8-year-old daughter to carry the antifreeze, according to a 7-page indictment obtained by the Daily News.

The first incident occurred on Sept. 6, after pouring himself a glass of wine, Matthew noticed something was off about the drink and described it as a “chemical taste,” Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said outside of court Thursday.

Matthew immediately spit out the foul-tasting liquid, assuming that it had simply gone bad, Sini said.

Later Matthew learned from his children’s babysitter that his 4-year-old son told her that “Mommy came in and put something in Daddy’s drink,” the prosecutor added.

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On Sept. 10, Matthew allegedly tasted a similar chemical taste this time, while drinking his Pepsi.

After the second encounter, police advised Matthew to set up surveillance cameras in his home.

According to prosecutors, on Sept. 12, video surveillance recorded Renee allegedly pouring a pink liquid from two baby bottles, which she had her daughter carry, into a bottle of wine.

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Police arrested Renee, initially charging her with burglary. She allegedly later told police that she only added water and fruit juice to the drinks, but lab tests revealed the wine and Pepsi bottles had antifreeze in them, Sini added.

Police allege they found a bottle of pink-colored Prestone antifreeze in her kitchen during a search of her home.

Renee Googled “what liquids for cars can kill a human” before mixing Prestone antifreeze with wine and soda, Sini said Thursday.

Renee was charged with second-degree attempted murder, second-degree attempted assault, second-degree burglary and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child — all of which she pleaded not guilty to. She was held on $400,000 bond.

Legal representatives for Renee did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Renee’s lawyer, Joel Salinger, said in court that she denied all of the allegations, arguing that she was set up by her estranged husband.

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“She has every intent to defend this in its entirety,” he said, according to The NY Post. “This is mostly all about her children… and making sure she can continue to be a mother to those children.”

Matthew’s lawyer, Richard Stafford said outside court, according to The New York Post. “He’s happy to get a good night’s sleep without worrying about her breaking in again. She made a cold-blooded and calculated decision to try to kill him. That’s pretty chilling.”

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