MEDFORD, Ore. — Daniel Burda, the man accused of killing former Mouseketeer and Phoenix resident Dennis Day, has been released on bail pending a trial that has been pushed back until at least December.
Burda's lawyer announced the development on Wednesday afternoon. According to court documents, Burda will be subject to GPS monitoring while he awaits trial.
"Mr. Burda has always maintained his innocence against these charges and demanded speedy trial," Burda's attorney, Christine Herbert, said in a brief statement. "Because the trial cannot occur within the statutory period of time, he must be released."
Herbert indicated that the delay and release were prompted by a order from Judge Lorenzo Mejia to exclude state's evidence. Now prosecutors are appealing the decision, resulting in the trial being continued pending the outcome of that appeal.
According to the order signed by Judge Mejia, that evidence included a number of statements made during Burda's interrogation.
Police found the remains of 76-year-old Dennis Day at his Phoenix home in April of 2019. At that point, he had already been missing for nearly a year, having last been seen in July of 2018. Officers from the Phoenix Police Department made several visits to Day's house shortly after he was reported missing, including a search of the home, without discovering the body.
Day's body wasn't positively identified until June of 2019. Due to the state of his remains, Oregon State Police investigators could use neither DNA or dental records to make the identification — ultimately coming to the identification through "investigation, evidence, and other information."
Police arrested Burda last July. According to family and friends, Burda served as a live-in handyman for Day and his husband, Ernie Caswell. Burda was accused of causing Day's death "by neglect or maltreatment," abusing his corpse, and using his credit cards dozens of times over a span of days.
Burda was sent to Oregon State Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation in October, but was ultimately declared fit for trial.
A tentative pre-trial date has been scheduled for December 7 of this year, with future dates likely to be determined during that conference.