Jury selection will begin Aug. 22 in Bangor in the murder trial of Robert Burton, the Abbot man accused of killing his former girlfriend in June 2015 and taking police on the longest manhunt in state history before turning himself in.

The trial was moved to Penobscot County from Piscataquis County because of pre-trial publicity, Jeffrey Toothaker, Burton’s attorney, said Monday.

“Hopefully it will be easier to select a jury,” he said. He said the change was agreed upon by himself, Assistant Attorney General John Alsop and Judge Robert Mullen. Alsop would not discuss the case Monday.

Burton, 39, pleaded not guilty in December in the shooting death of Stephanie Ginn Gebo in Parkman. He was indicted by a Piscataquis County grand jury in October. Burton also entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Burton is a convicted felon and is not allowed to have a gun.

Earlier proceedings were in Piscataquis County Superior Court in Dover-Foxcroft, but the trial will be in the Penobscot County Superior Court on Exchange Street in Bangor.

Toothaker declined to comment further on the case Monday, saying only that Burton has not changed his plea and that the case will proceed to trial.

Ginn Gebo was a 37-year-old single mother of a 13-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy when she was shot to death with a pistol in her bedroom on Kulas Road in Parkman on June 5, 2015. She had broken up with Burton a week earlier and was so afraid of him that she had changed the house locks and slept with a handgun under her pillow, police said.

According to a court affidavit, police found four shell casings from a 9 mm handgun and an open window in the bedroom where Ginn Gebo’s body was found. Medical Examiner Margaret Greenwald, who conducted the autopsy on Ginn Gebo on June 7, 2015, found multiple gunshot wounds to the lungs, spinal area and trachea and determined the death was a homicide.

Piscataquis County Sheriff John Goggin told WVII TV in July 2015 that Burton was wounded by Ginn Gebo before he turned the gun on her. Internet links to that interview have since been taken down.

“As he was climbing through the window that night, his would-be victim had a handgun and she shot at him,” Goggin said in the interview with the Bangor TV station. “He wasn’t armed at that time. She wounded him slightly, they got in a tussle over the gun and he just lost it. He got the gun away from her and he shot her and he killed her.”

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese said later that she wouldn’t confirm the accuracy of what Goggin had said in the interview.

Ginn Gebo was killed the day after Burton’s probation had ended on a domestic violence conviction that sent him to prison for 10 years. Her children told police that Burton had lived with them at 46 Kulas Road in Parkman for about two years, and that he had moved out May 31, 2015, to live with his parents in Abbot.

Ginn Gebo told her son “she was afraid Robert would hurt” the children and that Burton was “an angry person.”

Ginn Gebo’s daughter told police Burton was “always angry” and that he accused her mother of cheating on him.

She was last seen alive when she tucked her daughter and son into bed around 8:30 p.m. the night of June 4, 2015, according to police affidavits.

When her daughter left her second-floor bedroom and went downstairs at 6:15 the morning of June 5, she saw her mother lying on the floor face down in a pool of blood and with holes in her back. Ginn Gebo, unresponsive in her first-floor bedroom, had suffered several gunshot wounds and had been tied up with duct tape.

The girl got her brother out of bed, then called 911. As she was calling, she saw a camouflage backpack and jacket outside that she recognized as Burton’s. Inside the backpack police said they later found a knife, duct tape and medication in bottles prescribed to Burton. Police said they also found Burton’s cellphone in the jacket.

So began the two-month saga that ended when Burton, on the run from authorities and believed to be living in the woods, gave himself up at the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.

He was on the run for 68 days before turning himself in Aug. 11.

The charge against Burton — intentional or knowing murder — is a Class A felony punishable by 25 years to life in prison. Possession of a firearm by a prohibited person is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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