MEDFORD, Ore. — This Tuesday, February 18th, Daniel Burda will make another appearance inside the Jackson County Courthouse.
This court appearance will be for a pre-trial conference hearing. Burda is charged with the death of Dennis Day. Day was the former 'missing Mouseketeer'. He was reported missing for more than a year.
Burda's current list of charges are:
- Manslaughter in the second degree
- Criminally negligent homicide
- Abuse of a corpse in the second degree
- Criminal mistreatment
- Identity theft
Stay with NewsWatch 12 for an update of what happens in court Tuesday afternoon.
Update 2/16/2020 11:00 am
Daniel Burda, the man accused of killing "missing Mouseketeer" Dennis Day, lacks the fitness to proceed with trial at this time and will be sent to Oregon State Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, according to court documents.
A mental health professional determined that Burda was a "danger to self or others as a result of a qualifying mental disorder" and "requires a hospital level of care due to the defendant’s dangerousness and the acuity of symptoms of the defendant’s qualifying mental disorder."
Burda must be evaluated at Oregon State Hospital within 60 days to determine whether he will be mentally fit to stand trial. Within 90 days, hospital administrators must notify the court about whether Burda is fit to stand trial, if he is likely to be fit in the "foreseeable future," or if it's unlikely that he will ever be fit.
Burda faces a litany of charges, including counts for manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, criminal mistreatment, abuse of a corpse, and identity theft.
Friends and family of Dennis Day stopped hearing from him around July 15 of 2018, and investigators heard that he had gone "to visit friends." Day never resurfaced. As the investigation would prove nearly a year later, Day never left his Phoenix home, where Burda had been staying at the time of Day's disappearance.
According to family friend Sylvia McRae, Burda acted as a handyman for Day and his husband Ernie Caswell, doing work around the house for the two elderly men in exchange for housing.
Court documents indicate that Burda could be remanded to Oregon State Hospital for a maximum of three years based upon this initial decision. If, at any point, hospital staff determine that Burda "regains the capacity to stand trial," they are required to notify the court so that he can face charges.
Once those three years are up, Burda would be re-evaluated, according to Oregon law. The evaluator could decide that Burda is able to stand trial, "never able," or not yet able.
"If the determination is 'never able,' the hospital notifies the court, and the judge may decide to discontinue the order. In both cases, the court may dismiss the charges and either order that the patient be discharged, or initiate civil commitment proceedings," the Oregon statute states.
At his arraignment in July, Burda appeared confused, commenting that the charges were "messed up."
(EDIT: Updated with input from the Jackson County District Attorney's Office. The DA's office stressed that Burda is being sent to Oregon State Hospital for an official evaluation at this time, based on a preliminary evaluation rendered locally.)