Burton awaits Sept. 14 hearing

Accused murderer extradited to Maryland, jailed without bail
Matthew N. Burton is escorted out of Justice of the Peace Court in Georgetown Aug. 6. He was extradited to Maryland Aug. 16. BY RACHEL SWICK MAVITY
August 21, 2012

Accused murderer Matthew N. Burton’s next court appearance will be Friday, Sept. 14 in Worcester County District Court in Maryland.

Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves ordered the extradition of Burton, 28, of Dagsboro, from Delaware to Maryland Aug. 16. Burton arrived in Maryland later that day, and was placed in Worcester County Jail in Snow Hill Aug. 17 after being denied bail.

Beau Oglesby, state’s attorney for Worcester County said Burton appeared before Judge Gerald Purnell in Maryland District Court, represented by the Office of the Public Defender at the hearing.

Oglesby requested Burton be held without bond given his out-of-state address, attempts to fight extradition and the "very real danger" he poses to the community if allowed pretrial release.

Maryland attorney, Flynn Owens of Baltimore, said he will wait to file the paperwork allowing him to appear on Burton’s behalf. He said the future trial will be held in Worcester County Circuit Court, so he will file his appearance when that date is set.

“Either Mr. Burton will have a preliminary hearing or he will be indicted by grand jury before that date,” Owens said. “Either way, the core of the case will play out in Circuit Court, so I will defer on entering my appearance until then.”

Owens said the defense has a limited role during a preliminary hearing and would not be able to call witnesses or testify at that level. He said Burton would be represented by a public defender if needed.

After the extradition hearing in Delaware, Owens and his co-counsel, Delaware attorney John Garey, met with Burton. Owens would not comment on the future role that Garey may play in court proceedings.

Owens has appeared in Worcester courts in the past, he said.

Owens said he would not seek to have the case returned to Delaware.

Following the extradition hearing, Oglesby praised police and prosecutors in both Delaware and Maryland. “The cooperation and collaboration between the two jurisdictions has been seamless,” he said.

Burton is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the death of Nicole Bennett, a 35-year-old wife and mother of three from Long Neck.

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.

Bennett was found dead along a rural road outside Whaleyville, Md., June 15. She died from asphyxiation, according to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office.

After police found DNA evidence linking Burton to Bennett's death, a U.S. Marshal's Task Force arrested Burton outside Rehoboth Beach July 6.

Oglesby thanked the Office of The Attorney General for Delaware, Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, Worcester County Bureau of Investigation, Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division and Delaware State Police for their work and dedication.