Matthew N. Burton has been ordered to Maryland, where he faces charges in the murder of Nicole Bennett.
Burton, 28, of Dagsboro, appeared before Superior Court Judge Henley Graves Aug. 16 in Georgetown to appeal a lower court's order that Burton be extradited to Maryland to stand trial for murder. Graves upheld the extradition order.
"He has to return to the state of Maryland forthwith," Graves said.
Graves said during a search of Burton's car, police investigators found a ski mask and other peculiar items. He also said all of the documents provided were enough for probable cause to approve Burton's extradition.
Burton is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Nicole Bennett of Long Neck. Bennett, a wife and mother, was found dead along a rural road outside Whaleyville, Md. June 15.
A U.S. Marshal's Task Force arrested Burton outside Rehoboth Beach and transported him to Georgetown July 6. Burton has remained in Sussex Correctional Institution since his arrest.
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 request, Garey writes that Burton asserts he is innocent of the charge and was not in the state of Maryland on June 14. He asked the court to review the factual allegations that resulted in a Maryland murder charge.
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.
Bennett died from asphyxiation, according to the Maryland medical examiner’s office.