BANGOR - Robert Burton is on trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Stephanie Ginn Gebo, who was found dead in her Parkman home in June of 2015.
Robert Burton walks into the Penobscot County Courtroom, about two years after he turned himself in to police and ended one of the longest manhunts in state history.
In their opening statements, Assistant Attorneys General Don Macomber and John Alsop say Burton provoked deadly force.
"He was angry because Stephanie had ended their relationship on May 30, 2015, just six days before she was killed," said Macomber.
The prosecution presented evidence to the jury, including a roll of duct tape and papers found in a backpack left at the scene.
Prosecutors added that Burton shot Gebo three times with her own gun.
"That man right there the defendant Robert Burton murdered Stephanie Ginn Gebo," Macomber said, pointing to Burton.
The defense, led by Hunter Tzovarras, argues that Gebo had tried to kill Burton and that Gebo had fired the first shot.
"Rob doesn't try or want to shoot her, or intend to shoot her. He's struggling for his life, they're struggling over the gun, and their fingers are both inside the trigger guard, and the gun goes off and she's shot," said Tzovarras.
In what the defense calls a "fast paced struggle for life", Gebo was then shot again.
After opening statements, came witness testimony.
The first witness to testify, Gebo's now 15-year-old daughter, who says she found her mother unresponsive.
The victim's daughter describes the relationship between her mother and Burton as tense and angry, but that Burton was never physically violent with the victim.
"He loved Stephanie, he cared about Stephanie, he didn't want to kill Stephanie," said Tzovarras.
Other witnesses include Gebo's co-workers and close friends, who describe Gebo as "bubbly" and "independent", but say she was nervous in the days leading up to her death.
"She started carrying a gun in her purse, sleeping with it under her pillow. She changed the locks on her doors," said Macomber.
Witnesses say Gebo repeatedly turned down offers for help, saying she had the situation under control.
"After the couple broke up, Stephanie wasn't afraid of Robert. She didn't go out and get a protection order against Rob," said Tzovarras.
Another witness says Gebo had said if she went missing,"look for Robert Burton."
The trial will continue tomorrow and is scheduled to take more than a week. After the prosecution presents all of their witnesses, then the defense will have an opportunity to do the same.
Kayla joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in May of 2017. She got into journalism because she loves talking with people, and she's incredibly grateful to share the stories of Mainers throughout the region.
She got her start in broadcasting way back in middle school as a member of a morning announcements TV broadcast club, and her love for the news industry took off from there.
Kayla graduated from Penn State University in 2017 with degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish. During her time as a student at Penn State, Kayla was an executive producer and reporter for the "Centre County Report", an Emmy award-winning student-run newscast. She studied abroad in Ronda, Spain and traveled to Panama with an international reporting class. Kayla kept busy in college, spending four years working as a student manager in the dining hall.
Kayla grew up in the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, so transitioning into life in Vacationland was a piece of cake! A self-described winter fanatic, she loves all things snow related, including hitting the slopes on her snowboard. She also likes hiking, kayaking or doing anything outdoors. She loves meeting new people so if you see her around, be sure to stop and say hi!