Con artist’s day of reckoning


Tucson – Joe Murphy stood up in Pima County Superior Court at the sentencing of his ex live-in girlfriend, Rebecca Burke, and called her a “dangerous person.” “There is no line,” Murphy said, “that she won’t cross, and no end to the level of her deception.”

Murphy asked that Burke get the maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Burke previously pleaded guilty to trafficking in stolen property, for stealing guns from Murphy, then pawning them. She faced a minimum of two and a half years, as part of a plea deal.

Burke, stoic when she entered the courtroom, started crying after Judge Jane Eikleberry sentenced her to three and a half years behind bars. Burke was also ordered to pay restitution of $5,062.50 to Pima County for extradition costs from Alaska, where she was caught in February, and $1414 to Murphy, for stealing and selling his firearms.

Murphy told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, “I’m not happy with the sentence. I do take solace in the fact that she will be behind bars for three and a half years.”

Murphy and Burke had a year-long relationship, which began after they met online and ended when he kicked her out of his house when she admitted to lying for a year about having a job.

We asked Kellie Johnson, Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor, why Burke did not get the eight years that Murphy wanted. She said, “The judge has to weigh all of the facts and circumstances in the case and here found that the presumptive, or middle sentence was appropriate based on the aggravation and mitigation in front of her.”

The News 4 Tucson Investigators have been reporting on Rebecca Burke for almost a year, as she left a path of alleged lies and con jobs from Tucson, to Alaska, with a stop in California in between.

We found Burke working as a groomer at a pet store in San Diego last July, after fleeing Tucson when the heat was on. She left Tucson after we reported that Murphy told us Burke lied constantly to him, about having cancer, and other things.

Murphy says Burke told him the following: “She had a seven-million dollar trust fund. Her mom was a Superior Court judge. Her father was a wealthy property owner. And then he supposedly disappeared, was captured by the Mexican cartel and then was killed in action.

Burke apparently told many of those same lies to Ken Wilson, an Alaska businessman she met on an online dating site last winter, before he moved her in with him. Wilson says Burke claimed she was a nanny for a wealthy San Diego couple that was moving.

Wilson told us in February, “She said the family that was a millionaire couple was going to move from London to Alaska and buy her a house and give her a million dollars to help her because they felt bad for her.”

Burke was later arrested in Wilson’s home by Alaska State Troopers. This was two days after we told Tucson Police that Burke was in that area.

Now, Rebecca Burke, just 33 years old, with three prior felony convictions for fraud and theft, is heading to prison for a fourth time.

We asked her ex-boyfriend Joe Murphy, ‘” If you could talk to Rebecca Burke now, what would you say?” He replied, “I would tell her she is the perfect example of why people don’t trust their neighbors anymore. She is a career con artist, a disgusting person who takes advantage of good, hard-working people.”

Burke’s attorney, a public defender, said that Burke was abandoned as a child, bounced around foster homes and is sorry about what happened in this case. Joe Murphy says the only thing she’s sorry about, is that she got caught.


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