There was no testimony to how the tragedy occurred, because there was no witnesses. The only certianty was that Dr. Burke pulled the trigger. He either did it on purpose or by accident, The only people that could say what exactly happened were either dead or on trial.
“He [the magistrate] was instructed that the revolver went off by pure accident. Seeing that the accident had resulted in the death of the child whom he loved, and horrified at the occurrence, Mr. Burke turned the revolver against himself `’
The above was probably what happened, but could not be proved. Nevertheless Dr. Burke was charged with the murder of his daughter and attempted suicide, a crime at the time. He pleaded not guilty, but was charged with the crime.