The Abbot man accused of slaying his ex-girlfriend then leading police on the longest manhunt in Maine history appeared to be well nourished when he turned himself in at the Piscataquis County Jail, a member of the jail’s medical staff testified Thursday.
Terry Thurlow of Dover-Foxcroft told jurors that a bullet wound to Robert Burton’s shoulder had not healed entirely when he surrendered, defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras said during the lunch break.
“He said it was healing but [Burton] still had a scar on his back on the exit wound but was otherwise healthy,” the lawyer said.
Burton, 40, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June 4, 2015, shooting death of Stephanie Ginn Gebo, 37, of Parkman.
He was wearing clean clothes and was clean shaven Aug. 11, 2015 when he walked into the jail.
“I’m Robert Burton. I’m here to turn myself in,” he said
His murder trial began Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.
Evidence about how Burton survived while on the run has not been presented to the jury. His truck was found June 8, 2015, on a tote road in Parkman, Maine State Police Detective Jay Pelletier testified Wednesday.
Police found a blood-soaked, long-sleeved thermal shirt in the bed of the truck, the detective said. The blood was Burton’s, a Maine State Crime Lab technician said Thursday.
Ginn Gebo shot Burton in the left shoulder with a handgun she’d told friends she slept with for protection after breaking up him on May 30, 2015, according to the evidence presented at the trial. She then was shot three times in the back with the same gun.
The medical examiner testified Wednesday that any of her gunshot wounds would have been fatal.
The prosecution has portrayed Burton as a jealous jilted lover. On Tuesday, sexually explicit, hand-written notes that accused Ginn Gebo of infidelities with dozens of men were read to the jury.
In his opening statement, Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber theorized that Ginn Gebo shot Burton after he climbed in her bedroom window but was able to get the gun away from her before shooting her in the back using a pillow to muffle the sound.
The defense has said that Burton did not intend to kill Ginn Gebo. She was shot in a struggle when the gun went off behind her back.
The murder weapon was not recovered.
Several of Ginn Gebo’s co-workers testified Monday she was afraid of Burton, but she refused to take them up on offers to hide at their houses instead of with her children in their Parkman home.
“She said that if he came for her, she’d ‘get him first’ and ‘If I come up missing, look for Robert Burton,’” Shelley Edgecomb of Burnham said.
The prosecution is expected to rest Friday after testimony from Maine State Police Detective Jen Fiske, the lead investigator in the case.
Burton most likely will take the stand in his own defense Monday with closing arguments on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Tzovarras.
If convicted of murder, he faces between 25 years and life in prison.