Murder defendant Robert Burton, right, confers with attorney Zachary Brandmeir before closing arguments Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. 

BANGOR — Robert Burton has been found guilty of murder in the June 2015 shooting death of Stephanie Gebo inside her home in Parkman.

The jury reached its verdict just before noontime Thursday after deliberating for about 6½ hours over two days.

The case went to the jury at the Penobscot Judicial Center just before 1:30 p.m. Wednesday after the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments. Justice Robert Mullen released three alternates from the jury, leaving five women and seven men to render a verdict. Jurors deliberated for about four hours before asking to go home for the night.

The prosecution team had been painting a picture of Burton as an obsessive, jealous man who suspected his former girlfriend had been cheating on him when he murdered her.

In closing arguments on Wednesday, prosecutors told the jury that Burton was a malevolent force as he climbed in Gebo’s bedroom window armed with a knife and black duct tape to bind her until she “admits her wickedness” for cheating on him sexually with other men.


Assistant attorney general John Alsop said that Burton’s frame of mind was like a “drawer of knives” when he shot and killed his former girlfriend in a jealous rage, that his anger was palpable.

Alsop pointed out that Burton wrestled the gun from Gebo and then had a choice. “Once he has the gun, he can leave, but he doesn’t — he kills her,” Alsop said. “He has no right to self defense.”

But Gebo had told friends and coworkers that “I have a gun and I’m prepared to use it.”

She was afraid of Burton, she told them.

Gebo shot Burton through a pillow from her bed, striking him in the upper torso from which he bled profusely.

Burton then allegedly turned the gun on her, shooting her three times in the back.


Alsop told the jury that most of what Burton said on the stand was “pure fiction,” and that Gebo had every right to defend her home from criminal trespass.

The defense team has argued that if Burton had died that day, Gebo would have been on trial.

Defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras told the jury Wednesday: “Robert Burton is innocent.”

Burton had been invited to visit that night and acted in self defense after Stephanie Gebo shot him with a handgun she kept within reach in her bedroom.

Tzovarras said the gun went off accidentally. Robert Burton survived. Stephanie Gebo did not.

“Mr. Burton acted in self-defense in this case,” he told the jury, urging them to look at the law and come back with a not guilty verdict.


Tzovarras said that if Burton had wanted to kill Gebo, “don’t you think he would have shot her in the head? He’s not looking to kill Stephanie. He’s not trying to kill Stephanie.”

Tzovarras continued his assault on the state police murder investigation, telling the jury Wednesday that investigators never tried to get cellphone records from an old phone of Erika Moulton; never tested Burton’s 12 pages of rambling, obscene notes to see if Gebo had handled them; didn’t test the bed sheet; and didn’t investigate an alleged note from Burton in Gebo’s car.

“You should vote not guilty,” Tzovarras told the jury.

“It’s as bad to convict someone who is not guilty as it is to have been part of the death of Stephanie Gebo,” he said before the jury began deliberating Wednesday.

Gebo, a 37-year-old mother of two, had broken up with Burton the previous weekend and was killed the day after Burton’s probation for a domestic violence conviction that had sent him to prison for 10 years ended.

Burton fled after the shooting without seeking medical attention for himself and without calling 911 for Gebo.


Burton turned himself in to police 68 days later after what authorities said was the longest and most costly manhunt in state history.

Burton testified on Tuesday that sometime during the first 30 days he was on the run he visited his boyhood friend George Miles briefly in Abbot. He said Miles gave him an old tent and an old sleeping bag and told him he could take produce from his garden plot, but to not wipe it out. Burton told Miles that he wanted to turn himself in, but he was afraid he’d be shot by police.

Burton said he was in the woods and overheard state troopers say that the word from the top command was to shoot him on sight.

Eventually Burton walked into the Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft and told the guard: “I’m Robert Burton. I’m here to turn myself in.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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