The Parkman man wanted in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend in June turned himself in to authorities Tuesday, ending one of the longest manhunts in state history and bringing relief to residents in Somerset and Piscataquis counties.

Robert Burton, 38, was taken into custody around noon and was being held at the Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft on a charge of being a fugitive from justice, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman. Burton also will face a murder charge in the June 5 slaying of Stephanie Ginn Gebo, 37, who was found dead inside her Parkman home by her two children.

Around noon Tuesday, Burton entered the Piscataquis County sheriff’s office and jail complex at 52 Court St. He walked up to the front door of the county jail, rang the buzzer and said, “I’m Robert Burton and I’m here to turn myself in,” WCSH-TV reported.

Officials were unsure how Burton arrived and were reviewing surveillance video to try to figure it out. Dover-Foxcroft is the largest town in Piscataquis County with a population of more than 4,200 people, according to the 2010 census.

The TV station, which reviewed Burton’s booking records, said the fugitive looked healthy and weighed 180 pounds, the same weight as when police announced their manhunt on June 5 and said he was a suspect in Ginn Gebo’s death.

“(Burton) was walking and talking” and appeared to be in decent shape, a spokesman for the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press.


Burton’s capture brought relief to the residents of Somerset and Piscataquis counties, particularly the victim’s family.

“It’s been totally on our minds for the last nine weeks,” said Vance Ginn, father of Stephanie Ginn Gebo. “When is he going to get caught? Where is he? It’s just totally engulfed us the whole time.”

Ginn, who works as a home inspector for insurance companies, said he was returning home from work around 1 p.m. Tuesday when his wife, Angel Ginn, came running out the door of their house.

“She was yelling at the top of her lungs, ‘Have you heard? Have you heard?’ ” Ginn said. “Immediately my feelings went sky-high.”

Authorities believe Burton has been surviving for the past 68 days by breaking into camps and stealing food.

A Maine State Police spokesman said detectives interviewed Burton at the jail Tuesday. He was scheduled to make his initial court appearance Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Piscataquis County Superior Court, Maine Attorney General’s Office spokesman Timothy Feeley said via email.

The Attorney General’s Office will prosecute Burton and will seek to have Burton held without bail, Feeley said. If he is convicted of murder, Burton could face 25 years to life in prison. Feeley said Burton doesn’t have a lawyer yet.

State police and the local sheriff’s office offered little information on why Burton decided to turn himself in after eluding authorities since the manhunt began.

“Once charges are filed in this type of investigation, all questions are directed to the Office of the Attorney General,” state police Col. Robert Williams said in a statement issued Tuesday. “Neither the state nor the sheriff’s department intend to release any further details today.”

Piscataquis County Sheriff John J. Goggin could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Vance Ginn wasn’t sure what prompted Burton to turn himself in.

“If he wasn’t getting help, which I feel he was, then I think it was due to the environment and that he just couldn’t take it,” he said.


In July, Ginn issued a statement to the media asking Burton to turn himself in. Burton’s grandmother also appeared on television about a week ago asking her grandson to come to police, and “within a week he turned himself in,” Ginn said.

“We are so relieved and thrilled. We have so many emotions,” said Angel Ginn, Ginn Gebo’s stepmother. “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. We’re just glad it’s over and no one else got hurt.”

Burton has a lengthy criminal history that includes convictions for domestic violence. He and Ginn Gebo had split up about a week before police believe he broke into her home and shot her to death.

Ginn Gebo’s slaying triggered a massive police search in Piscataquis and Somerset counties, an area that Burton knew well. It was one of the longest manhunts in state history and had residents and business owners in nearby towns on edge for weeks.

Police issued warnings to residents not to approach him, saying he was armed and dangerous.

Lt. Mark Brooks, commander of the state police Troop C Barracks in Skowhegan and incident commander for the search, said Tuesday that troopers were “very relieved and thankful that the manhunt for Robert Burton has come to an end.”

“We are most happy that the good citizens of Piscataquis and Somerset counties can rest easy as this long manhunt is finished,” Brooks said. “Now citizens can return to their camps, recreation areas, favorite fishing holes and hiking spots without fear of encountering Mr. Burton.”


An ominous electronic sign on Route 150 in downtown Athens that said “Manhunt underway – Call 911 with tips” came down weeks ago, but the fears and concerns of local residents and business owners hadn’t gone away.

Until Tuesday.

“I think it will take a lot of worries away for a lot of people,” said Julie Jewell, who with her husband, Steve, owns the Athens Corner Store. “We were always cautious – we made sure vehicles were locked, houses were locked, camps were locked – more cautious.

“What we were thinking is he might get cornered and come out … fighting. … But now he’s turned himself in, so there’s not that worry that he might hurt somebody because he got cornered.”

In the Piscataquis County town of Guilford, where state police had set up a command post, the owner of Griffin’s clothing and footwear in Skowhegan and another outlet in downtown Guilford said everybody in the area knew Burton would come out of hiding sooner or later.

“I think everybody knew he was going to do it when the weather got cold and wet – he was tired of playing the game,” Paul Griffin said Tuesday. “He’s a local guy and I don’t think anybody is upset or happy. It’s just another normal day up in this country. It’s a small town. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody knew he’d turn himself in.”

Ron Robinson, the owner of C&R General Store in Harmony village on Route 150, was relieved that business may soon return to normal.

“People are just finding out – I’m sure people are going to be a little more relaxed,” he said. “People that have hunting camps in the area that are secluded haven’t dared to go to them. My customers have been concerned with him being loose, but I think it’s going to be a big pressure relief from worrying about it.”

Vance Ginn was glad that the long hours that officers spent looking for Burton paid off.

“They did an awesome job putting in long hours and working through a lot of frustrations,” said Ginn, who hopes Burton is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

“He should be somewhere for the rest of his life,” Ginn said.

Press Herald Staff Writers Dennis Hoey and Eric Russell contributed to this report.