April 03. 2014 10:02PM

Nashua man pleads guilty to negligent homicide

Union Leader Correspondent

NASHUA — A local man with a lengthy criminal record has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the death of a Nashua woman, Christina Hill, and was sentenced Wednesday to up to 14 years in prison.

Daniel J. Burke, 51, formerly of 23 Temple St., Apt. 18, waived his right to a speedy trial and instead pleaded guilty in a negotiated plea to a charge of negligent homicide, abuse of a corpse and two counts of falsifying physical evidence.Police say that sometime between July 4 and July 20, 2013, Burke shoved Hill, 52, formerly of 32 Chestnut St., Apt. 15, into a cabinet, which caused Hill to strike her head and suffer injuries that resulted in her death.Afterward, Burke wrapped Hill’s body in plastic, hid it in her apartment and attempted to mask the odor of the decomposing body, according to court documents.

On Wednesday, Burke pleaded guilty to the offenses in Hillsborough County Superior Court. Judge Kathleen McGuire sentenced him to a minimum of five years and a maximum of 14 years in prison. An additional 3½- to 7-year prison sentence was suspended, pending good behavior for 10 years upon his release, according to court records. Burke has already served more than 200 days in prison since his arrest last summer. At the time, authorities said Hill’s body was hidden inside her residence for two weeks before it was discovered due to a suspicious odor. “Believing that an investigation was about to be instituted by law enforcement, and with the purpose to impair its availability in the investigation, Daniel Burke concealed the body of Christina Hill by masking the odor of the decomposing body with dryer sheets and/or cologne,” court documents indicate.Attorney Paul Borchardt represented Burke in the plea deal, and prosecutor Leslie M. Gill represented the state.

During a previous court hearing, prosecutors said Burke has an extensive criminal history involving violence against women. Court records also indicate that he has struggled with a substance abuse problem and was ordered to complete the Crossroads Chemical Dependency Residential Program about six years ago.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.