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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Friday, August 12, 2016

Everett Man Pleads Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Plot

BOSTON – An Everett man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to a federal murder-for-hire charge. 

Joseph Burke, 52, pleaded guilty today to using facilities of interstate commerce in commission of a murder-for-hire.  Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for Nov.15, 2016, and deferred accepting Burke’s guilty plea until the date of sentencing.   If the court accepts the plea, Burke will be sentenced to 90 months in prison.

The murder plot was developed through a series of meetings between Burke and an undercover federal agent (UC).Burke told the UC that he needed money and was willing to commit murder, stating, “You might know some rich people who want to get out of a marriage.”  In a later meeting, Burke agreed with the UC to kill a man the UC said was causing problems.  Burke and the UC had several meetings to discuss the logistics of the murder, including where Burke would do it, the disguise he would wear, and Burke’s compensation for the murder.  Burke described how he would commit the murder, stating, “I’m gonna [expletive] shoot him in the head. . . . gonna hit him right in the [expletive] derby.”   In a later conversation, Burke told the UC that he was going to shoot the man in the chest and then, “stick  [the gun] in his mouth . . [and] say, ‘Listen, this is for [the UC].’”

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; David W. Hall, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Boston Field Office; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy E. Moran and John A. Capin of Ortiz’s Office. 

Violent Crime
Updated August 12, 2016