PARKMAN, Maine — The criminal history of the man wanted for murder in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend stretches back 15 years and has always been violent, Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Monday.
Robert Glenn Burton, also known as Robert G. Elliot, 38, is accused of killing Stephanie Ginn Gebo, a single mother of two, on June 5, the day after his probation for previous domestic violence crimes ended. The homicide sparked a massive manhunt that continued on Monday in and around Parkman.
“State police and wardens are back today, working out of the town hall,” where an incident command post has been established, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said in an email. “A Forestry helicopter was in the air this morning aiding searchers.”
The last known evidence that police are willing to discuss connecting Burton to the area was discovered a week ago when a stolen truck was recovered at the end of the driveway of Burton’s father in nearby Monson. Burton is considered to be armed and dangerous, and state police advised area residents to lock their homes and vehicles and report any suspicious activity.
Burton became a convicted felon after a string of three domestic violence incidents in 2000 when he was dating another local woman and threatened to kill her when they broke up, Almy said.
“It started on July 25 of 2000. He got into an argument with her and he threatened suicide and then he threatened to kill her,” said Almy, who described Burton’s actions as the “classic control method.”
Burton, who was 23 at the time, was arrested for terrorizing the woman.
Three days later, on July 28, 2000, “while on bail for terrorizing out of Newport District Court, he was waiting for her,” Almy said. “He jumped out of the woods and got into her car. He taped her mouth and he threatened suicide. She got loose.”
Burton was treated for overdosing on Tylenol at the Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville and was charged with felony kidnapping, as well as assault and violating his bail conditions when released, Almy said.
While in jail awaiting his trial, Burton was convicted of violating his bail conditions twice, of tampering with a witness and also felony trafficking in prison contraband.
“He called the victim at the jail and urged her to change her story,” Almy said. “All that was recorded. Later, he sent her a 30-page letter.”
Burton was convicted on seven of the eight charges, with the kidnapping dismissed, on March 1, 2001. He was sentenced to five days in jail for the terrorizing, six months each for the assault and the first bail violation, and three consecutive 13-month sentences in prison for tampering with a witness and the two bail violations for contacting the victim.
Shortly after Burton got out of Maine Correctional Center in Windham, he went looking for his previous victim, Almy said. In June 2002, he broke into a camp on Whetstone Pond where the family was known to stay, grabbed a rifle with a mounted sight and hid in a bathroom and waited.
“He threatened and assaulted [the victim’s] mother … he was trying to find [her daughter],” Almy said.
“She thought Burton was going to kill her,” the victim’s mother states in a summary form provided by Almy. “She said that he squeezed her throat for all he was worth and held the gun next to her head.”
Somehow the woman, who lived in Abbot at the time, convinced Burton to let her go. He fled with the weapon, ammunition, a knife and other items from the Whetstone Pond camp.
Staying in secluded camps that he broke into, Burton managed to elude police for nearly two weeks until his capture at an abandoned camp in Willimantic. Police found items with Burton that had been stolen from other camps, according to Almy.
“He was hiding in camps and they found him in a camp,” said the district attorney, who also represents Penobscot County. “He was hiding upstairs. The police went in and he was threatening suicide, so they left, and called in the [Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office negotiation team].”
There was a four-hour standoff before Burton gave himself up to police during the 2002 manhunt. He was charged with four counts of burglary; criminal threatening; four counts of theft; possession of a firearm by a prohibited person; and assault. He pleaded guilty in Piscataquis County Superior Court and was sentenced in September 2003 to 10 years in prison.
Burton served time in Maine State Prison in Warren and later in the Central Maine Pre-release Center in Hallowell before his release on June 3, 2011, according to Maine Department of Corrections Deputy Commissioner Jody Breton.
Burton was also sentenced to probation for four years, which he started the day after his release.
“His probation ended on June 4, 2015,” she said of Burton, who is listed as Robert Elliot in the DOC’s computer system.
The following day is when Burton took Ginn Gebo’s life, police say.
“The subject has made statements indicating he will not be returning to jail,” the state police said in a BOLO — be on the lookout — issued in the first days of the search.
Ginn Gebo, whose body was found in her home by her young children, had broken off the relationship with Burton a week prior to her death, according to state police Lt. Troy Gardner. A friend of the children’s maternal grandparents have set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for their care.
The current manhunt for Burton reached day 11 on Monday.
“We continue to advise the public to be vigilant in the area and to report any suspicious activity or anything that looks out of place,” McCausland said.
Anyone who sees Burton should call state police at 973-3700, or 911.
With his lengthy criminal history of assaults, domestic violence and use of weapons, Almy said people who live in and around Parkman, Abbot, Monson and Guilford should take extra precautions.
“I think he’s dangerous, yes,” Almy said.