Suspect in stabbing death of elderly Farmington woman to be held without bail

Posted Nov. 21, 2011, at 1:10 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2012, at 2:06 p.m.

FARMINGTON, Maine — A Massachusetts man is being held without bail on a charge of murder after police say he stabbed Grace Burton, 81, on June 21 in her apartment on Fairbanks Road.

Juan A. Contreras, 27, was arrested Thursday in Waltham, Mass. He made his first Maine appearance in court Monday morning with his attorneys, David Sanders and Christopher Berryment, by his side.

Sanders waived a harnish hearing on behalf of Contreras. That means he will stay in jail until the case goes before a grand jury in January.

He is expected to be arraigned, if indicted, in February.

According to a police affidavit Burton was stabbed 35 times on her body and she died as a result of the stab wounds. Prior to her death Burton was able to give police details in the case.

Contreras, of Waltham, was living on Pillsbury Lane, off Fairbanks Road, a short lane of trailers less than a quarter-mile from the Margaret Chase Smith Apartments on Fairbanks Road where Burton lived. Contreras is accused of cutting a screen and entering a window into Burton’s residence.

Police were able to match Contreras’ DNA found at the scene after several months of investigation. Contrerars voluntarily gave a DNA sample to state police on Wednesday in Massachusetts.

Several members of Burton’s family and friends turned out for Monday’s appearance at Franklin County Superior Court in Farmington.

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