Superior Court judge orders Burton extradited to Maryland
Last week, Delaware Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves upheld the extradition of Matthew Burton — the 28-year-old Dagsboro man accused of killing 35-year-old Nicole Bennett of Millsboro — to Maryland.
On Aug. 6, Delaware Justice of the Peace Howard Mulvaney III had granted Burton’s extradition to Maryland after reading affidavits from Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Mally. However, following Mulvaney’s order, Burton’s attorneys filed a writ of habeas corpus to the Delaware Superior Court.
During last week’s hearing, Graves said Burton’s attorneys, John R. Garey and Flynn M. Owens, had to either establish that Burton was not the person listed in the warrants or prove he was in Maryland at the time of the alleged crime.
“When you look at this warrant, there’s no probable cause,” argued Garey.
Deputy Attorney General David Hume argued that the warrant did include probable cause and reiterated that Burton was charged and wanted by the State of Maryland.
“In his vehicle, certain items were found of a peculiar nature. I think a ski mask, rope, gloves,” noted Graves, adding, “DNA of your client was found on the body of a deceased woman in Maryland… that’s a game changer,” which he said was enough to establish probable cause and order the extradition.
“The fact that DNA was on the body does not get the ball over,” responded Garey, stating that Burton worked as a contractual custodian for the Bay Shore Community Church, where Bennett also worked, and that his DNA could have transferred to her person at any time.
Graves said that it was the burden of the defense to prove that Burton was not in Maryland at the time the crime was committed.
“We don’t know what type of DNA evidence we’re talking about…” argued Owens, or whether it would have been placed on Burton’s body in Maryland or Delaware.
“We’re not going to prove probable cause,” said Graves. “We’re not going to get into discovery for a Maryland case.”
The gallery at the hearing was filled with members of the Burton family, as well as Bennett’s husband, Kevin, who was visibly emotional throughout the hearing. Beau Oglesby, Worcester County (Md.) States Attorney was also present.
A preliminary hearing for Burton is scheduled for Sept. 14 in Worcester County.