Murder defendant Robert Burton, center, is flanked by his defense attorneys Zachary Brandmeir, left, and Hunter Tzovarras on Sept. 25, 2017, during the first day of his trial for murder of Stephanie Gebo in Bangor. David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

June 5, 2015: Abbott resident Robert Burton shoots his former girlfriend, Stephanie Gebo, 37, at her Parkman home, killing her. The discovery of her body later that day launches a manhunt that lasts 68 days, the longest and costliest in Maine history.

Gebo was afraid of Burton, so she slept with a gun under her pillow. When Burton climbed through her bedroom window carrying a knife and duct tape, she shot him in the neck. He seized the gun and shot Gebo three times in the back, leaving without seeking medical attention for her or himself.

Burton committed the crime a day after completing his probation on a domestic violence conviction that put him in prison for 10 years.

The manhunt for Burton, during which several people reported having seen him, cost the state police about $500,000. The FBI, the Maine Warden Service and the local sheriff’s office also incurred expenses.

The presence of lighted, flashing “manhunt under way” signs along area highways around the Fourth of July unnerved people who live in the area and seemed to put a damper on local business.

The manhunt ended Aug. 11 when Burton walked into the Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft and turned himself in. A jury convicted him of murder in October 2017. The court sentenced him in December to 55 years in prison.

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com.  Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

 

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