DSP News Release: Delaware Troopers Charge Matthew Burton in June 2012 Murder of Nicole Bennett
- Nicole Bennett-35 of Millsboro, DE
- Matthew N. Burton-29 of Dagsboro, DE (photo attached)
- Murder First Degree Caused Death of Another During Commission of Felony
- Murder First Degree Intentionally Caused Death of Another Person
- Rape First Degree
- Incarcerated in Maryland on Fugitive Warrant pending extradition
Dover- Delaware State Police Homicide Detectives have charged Matthew N. Burton-29 of Dagsboro, Delaware in connection with the murder of Nicole Bennett who was found dead in Worcester County, Maryland in June 2012.
Burton was previously charged by the Maryland State Police in July 2012 with first and second degree murder charges in connection with the Nicole Bennett homicide and has been held on those charges while the investigation by the Maryland State Police and Delaware State Police continued.
During the thorough and comprehensive investigation, evidence was discovered indicating that the crimes were committed in Delaware. Burton is currently incarcerated in Maryland on a Fugitive Warrant from Delaware, pending extradition. He will be formally charged with the above crimes upon his return. Maryland has since dropped their charges.
The following outlines the preliminary investigation conducted by the Maryland State Police and the Delaware State Police and sequence of events.
Nicole Bennett-35 of Millsboro, Delaware, was found deceased on the morning of June 15, 2012, in an embankment off of Swamp Road in Worcester County. An autopsy conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore determined Bennett was murdered and had been asphyxiated. Autopsy evidence also indicated she was already dead when her body was left in the embankment off of the dirt road.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m. on June 15, 2012, Worcester Central received a 9-1-1 call reporting the body of the deceased victim in an embankment off of Swamp Road, a dirt road east of Nelson Road. The caller told police he was in the area walking when he noticed the woman’s body.
During the course of the initial investigation, Maryland State Police learned Bennett was the subject of a missing person’s case being investigated by the Delaware State Police. One hour before she was found, Bennett’s husband had called 9-1-1 reporting her missing. She had not returned home from the Bay Shore Community Church in Gumboro, Delaware, where she was reportedly working late on the evening of June 14, 2012.
Delaware State Police responded to the church and found Bennett’s vehicle parked in the lot. It was locked with her personal belongings inside. Troopers learned Bennett had been alone inside the church with a custodian, identified as Burton. Burton was subsequently located and interviewed by investigators.
Delaware State Police Homicide Detectives executed search warrants and processed the homes and vehicles of both Bennett and Burton. Several interviews were conducted with numerous family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. Investigators sought video surveillance footage from area businesses and from the church which is located approximately six miles from where Bennett was found.
Investigators with the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation, deputies from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware State Police and the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit responded to the scene. Crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division and crime scene technicians from the Delaware State Police responded to gather and analyze evidence. The Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Wicomico County Bureau of Investigation, and the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation also assisted with the investigation.
DNA evidence gathered by crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division connected Burton to the crime. After consultation with the WorcesterCounty State’s Attorney, an arrest warrant was obtained.
On July 6, 2012 at approximately 7:15 p.m. the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force, a warrant apprehension team, located Burton driving on SR 1 near Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.Burton was apprehended on a subsequent traffic stop and taken into police custody.
Sergeant Paul G. Shavack
Director of Public Information | Delaware State Police P.O. Box 430| Dover, DE 19903