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Trial date scheduled for family suing Phoenix police

There was a case I was following, and I haven’t been able to get any updates on it for a while. What’s the latest on the lawsuit against Phoenix police surrounding the Dennis Day murder investigation?

— No name given, via voicemail

We haven’t forgotten about the case of Dennis Day — a founding cast member of Walt Disney’s “Mickey Mouse Club” television series in the 1950s who became national news after his disappearance in the summer of 2018 — followed by cadaver dogs finding Day’s body underneath a pile of clothes inside his his home in April 2019.

For those just tuning in, Day’s sister, Nelda Adkins of Coalinga, California, filed a $2.2 million civil lawsuit in Jackson County Circuit Court against the city of Phoenix claiming that the police department was negligent in its investigation, and limited the evidence that the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office had to work with in the homicide case.

The latest development, court records show, is that a five-day trial is scheduled to begin March 21, 2022.

Homicide suspect Daniel James Burda, 38, who lived with Day and his husband as a handyman, faces charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, abuse of a corpse, criminal mistreatment and aggravated identity theft. The charges accuse Burda of causing Day’s death, hiding the body and using day’s bank cards.

Burda is in prison on unrelated charges while the DA’s office awaits an Oregon Court of Appeals ruling surrounding the evidence they’ll be able to present to a jury in the homicide trial.

The next court hearing in the homicide case is a pretrial conference set for Nov. 15.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com.