Robert Burton didn’t break into camps while he eluded police for two months and may have turned himself in to authorities because the man accused of killing his former girlfriend “thought he was going to get shot” by police and didn’t like being pestered by mosquitoes and black flies, his lawyer said Monday.

The former fugitive has been getting double meals at the jail and is covered with bug bites, Jeffrey Toothaker said when asked to describe his client’s condition.

Even so, Toothaker said he isn’t interested in what Burton was doing for the 68 days between when Stephanie Gebo was killed at her home or when Burton turned himself in last Tuesday, although it seems to be the only thing other people want to talk about.

“I didn’t even ask,” Toothaker said.

Toothaker’s comments came as a bail hearing scheduled for Monday for his client was postponed, and he said the next step is the grand jury.

Burton, 38, is charged with murder in connection with the death of his former girlfriend, Gebo, 37. Assistant Attorney General John Alsop, who is prosecuting the case against Burton, said Monday he is initially charged in the state police complaint, and a formal murder charge will come with a grand jury indictment, at which time Burton will be asked to enter a plea.


Toothaker said a bail hearing wouldn’t be helpful to his client, because bail would likely be set at far more than Burton could afford.

“At a bail hearing you don’t get anything, so why parade the evidence out?” Toothaker said.

Burton has been held without bail since turning himself in last week and being charged as a fugitive from justice. He did not enter a plea during his first court appearance on Wednesday.

The next step in the case will likely be a grand jury indictment in October, Toothaker said.

“There’s nothing happening yet,” he said. “Probably in November everything will heat up, once I’ve seen some discovery” showing the prosecution’s evidence.

Gebo’s body was found on June 5 by her 13-year-old daughter who, along with a 10-year-old brother, had been asleep upstairs in their Parkman home when the incident took place. Gebo was so afraid of Burton, with whom she had recently broken up, that she changed the locks on her doors and slept with a gun under her pillow, according to a Maine State Police affidavit released at last week’s hearing in support of a murder charge against Burton.


Burton had been on the run 68 days, making it one of the longest manhunts in state history. Authorities believe he had been living in the woods before he gave himself up at the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.

Toothaker was assigned to the case last Wednesday and met his client for the first time on Friday. So far, he has met face-to-face with Burton for a few hours. An attorney with a practice in Ellsworth, Toothaker said he has been practicing criminal defense for 25 years.

A gun shop owner near the Abbott/Guilford town line sold Gebo a 9 mm handgun about three years ago, police said. On June 4, Robert Burton told his father that Gebo had bought “either a Glock or Colt 9 mm handgun,” according to the affidavit.

Authorities have not said what type of gun was used to kill Gebo, but according to the affidavit, Detective Micah Perkins found four 9 mm shell casings and the window open in the bedroom where Gebo’s body was found. Medical Examiner Margaret Greenwald, who conducted the autopsy on Gebo on June 7, found multiple gunshot wounds to the lungs, spinal area and trachea and determined the death was a homicide.

Toothaker, on Monday, said he didn’t know enough about the case to weigh in on whether Burton used Gebo’s gun against her.

“I don’t know any of the specifics nor can I comment at this time,” Toothaker said.


So far, the only hard information about the case is the affidavit included in the court file, and he has not talked to Burton about what happened the night of the murder, he said.

“I don’t ask him what happened right away. I never do,” Toothaker said. “If they want to tell you, then they do.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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