Accused Killer Stays In Worcester Pending Appeal
SNOW HILL — Accused killer Matthew Burton will remain behind bars in Worcester County indefinitely after immediately appealing a Circuit Court judge’s denial of his motion to stay his extradition to Delaware to face first-degree murder charges for the death of a Millsboro woman.
Burton was originally indicted by a Worcester County grand jury in first-degree murder and first-degree rape charges for the death of Nicole Bennett, 35, of Millsboro, whose body was found on a roadside embankment in Whaleyville in June 2012. However, in August, Delaware State Police announced they were charging Burton after evidence discovered during a thorough investigation indicated the crime was committed in Delaware.
As a result, the case against Burton in Worcester was dropped and he was formally indicted on the same charges in Delaware. However, Burton remains in the custody of the Worcester County Jail this week after yet another attempt at fighting extradition to Delaware was denied by retired Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Theodore Eschenberg on Monday.
Burton’s attorney filed a motion to stay the extradition to Delaware and filed for a writ of habeas corpus that would prevent moving him from Worcester to Delaware. Eschenberg denied both the motion to stay the extradition and the writ of habeas corpus, essentially opening the door for his transfer to Delaware.
However, Burton immediately filed an appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which will now take up the extradition issue. As a result of the appeal, which could presumably take weeks to be heard, Burton will remain in custody in Worcester until the appeal is heard and ruled upon.
“The habeas corpus statute provides for an automatic appeal right to the Court of Special Appeals, so naturally nearly 100 percent of the denials file their petitions,” said Deputy State’s Attorney for Worcester County William McDermott. “The Attorney General will now represent the state’s interests at the Court of Special Appeals, while Matthew Burton is housed at the Worcester County Jail.”
Burton is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the death of Nicole Bennett, 35, of Millsboro, whose body was found on a roadside embankment near Whaleyville in northern Worcester County on June 15, 2012. Burton, a registered Tier I sex offender in Delaware, worked as a custodian in the church where the victim also worked and where she was last seen the night before her body was discovered.
Shortly before 9 a.m. on June 15, Worcester Central received a 911 call reporting the discovery of a body of a deceased woman on an embankment off Swamp Rd., a dirt road east of Nelson Rd. near Whaleyville. DNA evidence gathered by crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division ultimately connected Burton to the crime.
After the investigation and DNA evidence connected Burton to Bennett’s murder, detectives consulted with the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office and a warrant for his arrest was obtained. Around 7:15 p.m. on July 7, the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force, a warrant apprehension team, located Burton driving on Route 1 near Rehoboth Beach. Burton was apprehended on a subsequent traffic stop and was taken into custody.
Ironically, Burton fought his extradition to Worcester to face murder charges and was eventually transferred after several hearings that summer. Over a year later, he is now fighting extradition back to Sussex County to face the same charges in the state where the crimes allegedly occurred.