Murder Suspect’s Extradition To Md. Put On Hold

BERLIN- The Dagsboro, Del. man charged with the murder of a woman found dead in a ditch along a rural road in northern Worcester County in June remains in Delaware this week after a flip-flop of sorts on his extradition early this week.

Maryland State Police homicide detectives in July charged Matthew Burton, 28, with murder after connecting the suspect to the death of Nicole Bennett, 35, of Millsboro, whose body was found on a roadside embankment in Whaleyville on the morning of June 15. Burton has been held in Delaware since his arrest in the Rehoboth area on July 7 and remains in custody there this week after an extradition hearing on Monday.

A Delaware Justice of the Peace Court judge on Monday approved Burton’s extradition to Worcester County to face murder charges in connection with the death of Bennett. However, defense attorney Martin Garey immediately filed an expedited request in Delaware Superior Court contesting the extradition. On Tuesday, a Delaware Superior Court judge issued a stay of extradition and scheduled a new hearing for next Thursday, Aug. 16.

Burton, a registered Tier I sex offender in Delaware, worked as a custodian in the church where the victim also worked and was last seen the night before her body was discovered. Shortly before 9 a.m. on June 15, Worcester Central received a 911 call reporting the discovery of the body of a deceased woman in an embankment off Swamp Rd., a dirt road east of Nelson Rd. near Whaleyville. The caller was walking along the rural road when he discovered the body, which was later identified as Bennett, a wife and mother of three young children. During the course of the initial investigation, police learned Bennett was the subject of a missing person’s case being investigated by the Delaware State Police.

DNA evidence gathered by crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division ultimately connected Burton to the crime. An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore determined Bennett was murdered and had been asphyxiated. Autopsy evidence also indicated Bennett was already dead when her body was left in the embankment off the dirt road in Whaleyville.

Investigators have not yet confirmed the scene of the initial crime and a motive for the murder remains unclear. Burton was terminated from his job at the church the day after Bennett’s body was found.