55 Years Behind Bars: Convicted Murderer Sentenced

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Robert Burton of Abbot was sentenced Friday in a Bangor courtroom. He was found guilty in October for the 2015 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Gebo.

Friday's sentencing closed a painful chapter in the lives of Gebo's family, a day they've waited more than two years for.

"I find that the maximum sentence in this case should be, and is, 55 years to the Department of Corrections."

Robert Burton will spend up to 55 years behind bars.

"We suffered a great loss we can never get back," said Vance Ginn, Stephanie Gebo's father.

The Abbot man shot his ex-girlfriend Stephanie Gebo three times in the back in June of 2015, then led police on the longest manhunt in state history.

"Compared to other recent cases we've had, the sentence on this was somewhat surprising," said Assistant Attorney General, John Alsop. "But it's certainly a just and fair sentence and the judge makes that call."

"You can try to do all the good in the world but if you're a murderer, you're a murderer," said Ginn. "And that's what he is. A murderer."

For Vance Ginn, this sentence brings closure, but at a cost.

"I am not a man that will say I forgive him. I won't," said Ginn. "That's not my job. That's God's job."

Relationships in his family are now broken because of a senseless tragedy.

No one feels that pain more than Gebo's daughter, Sydney. She was just thirteen when she found her mother's body in their home.

"My mother was taken from me by a man who so selfishly wanted my mother all to himself," said Sydney Gebo. "He does not deserve recognition of me saying his name, as it has no meaning."

Throughout the trial, Robert Burton has maintained his innocence. Even going as far as to distribute pamphlets telling his side of the story.

And while he disagrees with how the events unfolded that night, he recognizes the impact his actions have made on Stephanie Gebo's family.

"I honestly mean it when I say… If I could trade places with Stephanie I would," said Burton.

"He understood that he would serve some significant time," said Defense Attorney, Hunter Tzovarras. "He is pleased that the judge didn't impose a life sentence, but his focus is really on appealing the case now and hopefully getting a new trial."

Burton has a history of domestic violence, spending ten years in prison for assaulting another girlfriend. His lengthy criminal record played a major role in this outcome.

Prosecutors say if Burton does not get in trouble while in prison, he could be released in 48 years. He would be close to 90 at that time.

"Mr. Burton when you're released from prison, if you're released from prison, you're going to be a very old man. No one ever again will fear for their life because of you."

Robert Burton is now behind bars, but Vance Ginn says justice for his daughter won't end today.

He hopes to encourage county officials to implement electronic monitoring programs state-wide.

The goal of the ankle bracelets is to increase compliance with protection-from-abuse orders, reduce recidivism, and protect people from Maine's most dangerous domestic abusers.