Nathan Burke, accused in the brutal death of his former boss's dog, was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to several misdemeanors.

Burke, 39, of Hancock and Justin Chipman, 25, of Steuben were accused of killing Philip Torrey's pug dog, wrapping his body in plastic, and dumping him in the ocean. Chipman was found guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals in November, and sentenced in January to 3 years in prison, with all but one year suspended.

Burke was sentenced this week to time served, plus $180 fine and a year's probation. According to WGME-TV, Burke received a lighter sentence than Chipman because he passed a lie detector test in June of 2020. During that test, he told investigators that he was not the one who shot Franky and, in fact, didn't know that Chipman was going to kill the dog.

Franky the dog was killed in 2018 after Burke and Chipman entered Torrey's house without permission. Both men had once worked as sternmen on Torrey's lobster boat. They stole his Hummer, taking Franky for a ride before killing him. The dog's body washed up on shore in Winter Harbor and was found by the wife of Hancock County District Attorney Matthew Foster. Chipman and Burke originally told Torrey that they'd taken the dog for a joyride and he'd run away.

Winter Harbor Police Dept.
Winter Harbor Police Dept.


Burke skipped his original court appearance and disappeared. Police caught up to him a few months later during a domestic violence investigation in Winter Harbor. While awaiting trial, he was arrested on several bail violation charges.

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