NY Woman Tried to Kill Her Husband by Spiking Drinks With Antifreeze: Prosecutors

January 4, 2019 Updated: January 4, 2019

A New York woman attempted to kill her husband by spiking drinks with antifreeze, prosecutors said this week.

Renee Burke, 40, even used her 8-year-old daughter in some of the attempts, according to a seven-count indictment filed against the Long Island woman on Jan. 3.

Burke and Matthew Burke, Burke’s husband, were going through a bitter divorce and a judge awarded him custody of their children while limiting her visitation rights, prosecutors said.

After the decision, Burke allegedly used her phone to search the Internet for “what liquids from cars can kill a human” and “antifreeze with alcohol.” On Sept. 6, 2018, she spiked a bottle of wine with antifreeze.

Matthew Burke drank some of the wine from a glass but spat it out and dumped the rest of the bottle because it smelled and tasted strange, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Santomartino said in court, according to the New York Daily News.

Soon after, the couple’s 4-year-old son Tristan told his babysitter that “mommy poured Prestone into daddy’s wine.”

When he drank Pepsi that seemed to be spiked on Sept. 10, he had his brother set up security cameras.

Video footage from the cameras showed Renee Burke on Sept. 12 pouring a pink liquid from two baby bottles into a bottle of wine with the help of her daughter Isabella.

“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.

Burke was charged with second-degree attempted murder, second-degree attempted assault, second-degree burglary and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She pleaded not guilty on Thursday.

After her arrest in September 2018, Burke claimed that she hadn’t doctored any drinks. She later said she’d add water, then said she’d added fruit juice.


A search warrant of her house uncovered a bottle of Prestone antifreeze in her kitchen, Santomartino said at a press conference, reported Newsday.

Forensic testing of Matthew Burke’s wine and Pepsi bottles showed evidence of ethyl glycol, which is the main ingredient in antifreeze.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, antifreeze contains three poisonous ingredients, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, and methanol.

“For ethylene glycol: Death may occur within the first 24 hours. If the patient survives, there may be little or no urine output for several weeks before the kidneys recover. Any brain damage may be permanent. Vision loss or blindness may also be permanent,” it stated.  “For methanol: Methanol is extremely toxic. As little as 2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 30 milliliters) can kill a child, and 4 to 16 tablespoons (2 to 8 ounces or 60 to 240 milliliters) can be deadly for an adult. The outcome depends on how much was swallowed and how soon appropriate care was given.”

“Permanent damage to the nervous system may occur. This can cause blindness, decreased mental functioning, and a condition similar to Parkinson disease,” it added.

Victim, Accused React

Matthew Burke is pleased with the indictment, his lawyer Richard Stafford told the New York Post.

“He’s happy to get a good night’s sleep without worrying about her breaking in again,” Stafford said. “ She made a cold blooded and calculated decision to try to kill him. That’s pretty chilling.”

Renee Burke’s attorney, Joel Salinger, said the charges aren’t true, reported Newsday. She was being held on $400,000 bond.

Salinger said there is “no direct evidence that what my client might—might—have put in the drinks was antifreeze.”

He added, “This is mostly all about her children, OK, and making sure she can continue to be a mother to those children.”

From NTD News

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