BANGOR — Robert Burton testified in his own defense in court Monday that he would write love notes to Stephanie Gebo, the woman who prosecutors say he murdered with three shots to the back with her own gun at her Parkman home in June 2015

Burton, 40, said three days after the couple broke up on May 30, 2015, after being together for 2 1/2 years, Gebo, then 37, allowed him into her home and into her bed.

The next night, Burton was shot once in the upper torso with Gebo’s 9 mm pistol as he climbed through her bedroom window, then turned the gun on her and killed her — the final shot coming while the woman was already down on the floor.

Burton told Justice Robert Mullen that he was willing to take the stand Monday and waived his rights to remain silent. Once in the witness box, defense attorney Zachary Brandmeir asked him point blank: Did you break into Stephanie Gebo’s house in June 2015?

Burton: “I did not.”

Brandmeir fired back: Did you intentionally kill Stephanie Gebo?


Burton: “I did not.”

Burton, who told Brandmeir he was “nervous and scared” on the stand and broke down a couple of times, said he met Gebo online and they later dated before he moved in with her.

“She was beautiful,” he said.

Burton described a rough life, being a woodsman at age 17 and finally having a son of his own, who would later die of his wounds while on duty with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. He said he was injured in a wood mill accident and needed medications that he would later tell Gebo he was going to mix with alcohol to commit suicide.

But statements from Gebo’s best friend, Erika Moulton, drove him to search Gebo’s phone card and find old text messages of sex with other men. Moulton allegedly told him that the love of his life was a “sex fiend” and a “whore,” which upset him gravely.

“I started over-thinking things,” he recalled under direct examination from Brandmeir. “It crushed me. I was devastated.”


Assistant Attorneys General Donald Macomber and John Alsop did not get a chance to cross examine Burton Monday, the sixth day of Burton’s murder trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.

Direct examination will continue Tuesday morning with the prosecution taking over after Burton’s defense team of Brandmeir and Hunter Tzovarras finish with direct examination.

The father and stepmother of Robert Burton testified earlier in the day Monday, noting that the pair appeared to be a loving couple.

“I would describe their relationship as two people in love,” Roger Burton told the jury on Monday. That all appeared to change on Saturday, May 30, 2015, when Stephanie Gebo broke off the relationship and Burton “flipped out,” saying he had reached the end of his rope, his father said.

Robert Burton never threatened to hurt Gebo, Roger Burton said, but Robert Burton suspected Gebo was up to something “shady and sneaky.”

Two weeks earlier Robert Burton had found messages proving to him that she was cheating on him with other men, Roger Burton said.


The defense argues that Burton acted in self-defense after Gebo shot him with a handgun she kept within reach in her bedroom, while the prosecution team are painting a picture of Burton as an obsessive, jealous man who suspected his former girlfriend had been cheating on him when he murdered her.

On Friday the defense suggested that the Maine State Police might have rushed to judgment in charging Burton with murder just three days after Stephanie Gebo was found shot to death on June 5, 2015, in her Parkman home.

Brandmeir sought to discredit the police investigation and cast reasonable doubt on Burton’s guilt for the jury. He said to Detective Jennifer Fiske that the murder charge was brought without all the evidence collected over the past two and a half years.

Some text messages that had been deleted from Gebo’s phone were not included in copies used as evidence by the state, he said. Brandmeir noted later that neither the state nor the defense team have copies of text messages between Gebo and her best friend, Erika Moulton, because they had been deleted from Gebo’s phone and because US Cellular, the service provider, doesn’t keep records of the messages.

The state rested its case just after 2:30 p.m. Friday.

The defense argues that the couple had consensual sex just days before the fatal shooting and is trying to convince the jury that Burton had been set up to be shot by Gebo as he entered her home on June 4, 2015, or early June 5. Prosecutors have said the lock on the window in Gebo’s bedroom appears to have been rigged to allow entry from outside, though it appears to be locked shut.


Police have said Burton, 40, was shot with Gebo’s 9 mm handgun through the upper torso before he turned the gun on her, shooting her three times and killing her.

On Friday, Robert Burns, a firearms specialist with the state crime laboratory in Augusta, testified that all four of the spent 9 mm shell casings were fired from the same gun — the one used to shoot Burton in the upper torso and the one used to shoot Gebo three times in the back.

Tzovarras insisted that when Burton entered Gebo’s bedroom through a window, Gebo lifted a bed pillow and shot him through the pillow. The bullet ricocheted into the ceiling, where police found it lodged between the first and second floor of the house.

Burton bled profusely before fleeing and was on the run for 68 days in rural Piscataquis County before turning himself in.

Retired Chief Medical Examiner Margaret Greenwald said on Wednesday that one of the three shots that killed Stephanie Gebo in her home in June 2015 probably was fired while the mother of two was already down on the floor of her bedroom in Parkman, bleeding from two other shots.

Greenwald, who conducted the autopsy on Gebo’s remains on June 7, 2015, found gunshot wounds to the lungs, spinal area and trachea and determined the death was a homicide. She also found what might be considered a defensive wound on Gebo’s hand and other cuts and bruises.


Burton is charged with murder in the shooting death of Gebo, then 37, in the Parkman home they once shared. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Gebo, a single mother of two, was shot to death with a pistol, according to police. She had broken up with Burton the previous weekend and was killed the day after Burton’s probation for a domestic violence conviction that had sent him to prison for 10 years ended.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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