Judge halts Burton's extradition

Burton denies he was in Maryland the night Bennett died
Matthew N. Burton, 28, of Dagsboro, will be held in Delaware pending an Aug. 16 hearing in Delaware Superior Court. BY RACHEL SWICK MAVITY
August 7, 2012

Matthew N. Burton, 28, of Dagsboro, charged with first- and second-degree murder in the death of Nicole Bennett, will remain in Delaware for now.

Superior Court Judge Henley Graves granted a stay of extradition for Burton. Graves requested attorneys provide case law to Superior Court by Monday, Aug. 13. A hearing on the extradition is set for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16 in Georgetown.

During a Justice of the Peace Court extradition hearing Aug. 6, Judge Howard Mulvaney III approved Burton's extradition from Delaware to Maryland to face murder charges. Following the hearing, Burton’s attorney John R. Garey of Dover filed an expedited request to Superior Court contesting the extradition.

In the documents, Garey writes that Burton asserts he is innocent of the charge and was not in the state of Maryland on June 14.

He writes, “Matthew N. Burton submits his arrest and detention violates his constitutional rights guaranteed him by the United States Constitution and the Delaware Constitution, resulting in his illegal detention.”

Documents show Burton requests Superior Court review the allegations that this crime was committed in Maryland and asks the court to order his immediate release.

Graves said the Delaware Department of Corrections will retain custody of Burton pending the hearing.

Burton is charged in the death of 35-year-old Bennett of Long Neck, whose body was found along a road outside Whaleyville, Md. Bennett had been asphyxiated, according to the Maryland medical examiner’s office.

Bennett was last heard from June 14 as she worked at Bay Shore Community Church outside Gumboro. Burton was also working at the church that night as a part-time custodian. Maryland State Police said DNA evidence found on Bennett’s body connected Burton to the crime.