Daniel Burda sentenced to over 4 years in Mouseketeer murder case

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – There is finally a resolution in the murder case of original Disney Mouseketeer Dennis Day.

The Phoenix man went missing six years ago.

On Monday, his former handyman, Daniel Burda, entered a plea deal and was sentenced to over four years in prison, but not before making some controversial comments.

“Whole system wants to point a finger at me, or somebody,” said Burda. “It would have to be me, I guess. Well, that’s politics.”

Burda was living with Dennis Day at the time he went missing in 2018.

Prosecutors say Burda shoved Day to the ground and let him die by not taking actions to prevent it.

Over the past five years, Burda’s trial has been delayed multiple times, but it was finally set to begin on July 15.

On Monday morning, Burda changed his plea to “no contest” on two counts, criminally negligent homicide and abuse of a corpse in the second degree.

A “no contest” plea carries the same penalties as a guilty plea without admitting fault.

Day’s family was in court and said they support the plea deal.

“This evil man has been a menace to society since he was 17-years-old, as his conviction sheet paints the picture of who he is and will always be,” said Dennis Day’s sister Nelda Adkins. “Our family is only supporting this plea agreement because we need this horrible nightmare to end.”

Burda is set to serve just over four years in state prison.

The Judge said Burda will also receive credit for time served, followed by three years of post-prison supervision.

“He decided to take accountability,” said Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Sara Shaw. “As you can tell, not so much accountability, but he decided to plead no contest, which is an option that basically has the same ramification as pleading guilty. But when you say no contest, you’re basically admitting I am not contesting that the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges that were brought against me.”

This sentence will run consecutive to another unrelated criminal case, where Burda was sentenced to two years.

Dennis Day’s badly decomposed body was found by police in his own home, months after he was reported missing, under a pile of clothes.

His family has filed a $2 million civil suit against Phoenix Police and Lieutenant Jeffrey Price.

They claim the department led a careless investigation, ruined evidence, and caused them emotional distress, both intentionally and through its own negligence.

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NBC5 News reporter Sean Walters earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Emerging Media and Digital Arts from Southern Oregon University. As a result of an accelerated academic program, he graduated in just three years. He was born in Antioch, California, then grew up in Southern Oregon. Sean loves to travel, play guitar and study filmmaking and photography.
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