In 2012, members of the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force arrested Dagsboro resident Matthew Burton in connection with the murder of Millsboro’s Nicole Bennett. It was a disturbing crime, both by the nature of the death, and the fact that Bennett and Burton both worked at the Bayshore Community Church in Gumsboro, and were fairly well-known to many in the community.
Bennett’s body was discovered in Worcester County, Md., so Burton had been spending the past several years in a Maryland jail, while Maryland and Delaware officials figured out where he would stand trial for his alleged offenses.
Recently extradited to Delaware, Burton faced a bail hearing on April 22 while he awaited his trial, currently scheduled for October. Burton was given a $1.5 million cash bail by Sussex County Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley.
Look, we strongly believe in the “innocent-until-proven-guilty” concept that accused individuals enjoy in this nation. It is the surest way of ensuring that prosecutors must meet a stringent burden of proof to strip away somebody’s freedom and, while not perfect, our judicial system works more often than not by employing this thought.
However, even if we do consider Burton to be innocent until a jury of his peers finds differently, the nature of this crime alone should prohibit someone accused of it from walking freely before his or her court appearance.
It is a horrible crime, and one that nobody of right mind wishes upon anyone else. If authorities believe Burton is the person who did this — or even could have done this — then it is imperative that he stay confined until the case is presented in a court of law.
The bail of $1.5 million cash is a steep one, and will most likely preclude Burton stepping out of jail. But why risk it?
Once again, I find myself surprised over something that really shouldn’t be all that surprising.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Maybe you have someone who continues to disappoint you, but out of the kindness of your heart, you give that person one more chance. Then, inevitably, you are disappointed again, and you somehow find yourself surprised.
Or, you have that sports team that you love with every fiber of your heart, and you just know that this is the year they are finally going to put it all together and win a championship while you bask in the glory. Then, ta-da! They fall face down in flames, and you are left telling yourself that the bad luck can’t continue, and you are just sure they will be scaling great heights next year.
Of course, sometimes, you can find yourself surprised by something good, even though you’ve seen good over and over again, and maybe it’s something you should come to expect.
That’s where I found myself this week.
My mother had a complicated surgery last week — the kind that keeps you in the hospital for several days, and then confines you to bed for several more weeks when you are released. This was not a “routine procedure” by any means, and it was somewhat torturous being far away from her while she was going through all this. Granted, it was probably a little more trying for her than me, but I have the pen, so to speak, so this comes from my point of view.
Regardless, I was able to get away on Saturday and came down to her home, armed with a wife and 17-month-old screaming-machine, to help her around the house for a week. A notorious over-planner by nature, I had a bevy of ideas mapped out for when I got down there: cooking a bunch of meals to store in the freezer, taking care of her dog, running errands, etc.
There was nothing I could do medically for her, I figured, so maybe I could reduce a little bit of stress on her while she recuperated.
The entire eight-hour drive was spent going through all these ideas in my mind. “Poor girl must be feeling so alone and isolated,” I figured. “We’re going to really raise her spirits and make her life easier.”
I pulled into that driveway feeling like a caped crusader, ready to proverbially “save the day.” Then I walked in the front door and I was blown away.
The first thing I saw was flowers. Lots of flowers. It was as if Susan Lyons gained control of my mother’s living room and turned it into a botanical paradise, filled with colors and scents. I heard an animal make a sound and instantly searched for a jaguar or something amongst the foliage.
There was a discernable sense of relief when her dog made her way through the wilderness and greeted us with a bark and a wagging tail.
After a quick visit to her bedroom, I hit the refrigerator for a drink. It was like one of those movies when the kid tells his mother he cleaned his bedroom, then she knowingly opens his closet and is struck by an avalanche of toys and clothes that he crammed in there, thinking he was slick.
But this was food.
Tray after tray after tray of glorious food.
There was pasta and meat, salads and fruits, desserts and breads. I was told that people had been coming and going since she got home, armed with food and flowers to help her through the transition.
I was in shock, and half-covered in saliva, as I examined the glorious display of all things edible that stood before me.
My mom had only retired down here a few years ago, and to see this many people bring her things brought tears to my eyes.
Well, that, and the prospect of getting into all this food.
She was blown away as well. She kept shaking her head and telling us how many people had been by the house, all of them carrying something to help her with the transition. Someone had set up a food schedule, so people could swing by at certain times with a meal and to raise her spirits.
She said she received countless emails, and an enormous pile of cards sat on a table. The calls and letters and food have continued all week, and we have not been the providers we planned to be as much as we’ve been partners in crime in putting down all this food.
Again, I was surprised by the sheer kindness of people.
We get so caught up in all the negativity in the world, and the heinous acts of a few, that it’s sometimes too easy to forget that most people are simply good and want to help where they can.
We see that big chair outside Justin’s Beach House, or the amazing stage at Bayside, and it’s a reminder of how people can pull together for a common cause. This week has reminded me that good is being done every single day.
Letters to the Editor
Chamber thankful for help with event
On behalf of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Chamber team, I would like to thank everyone who helped make the 27th Annual Ocean to Bay Bike Tour an absolute success.
The event brought more than 2,100 cyclists and their families and friends to the Quiet Resorts. Residents and visitors who participated in the tour were pleased with the routes, rest stops and post party festivities, and many business owners reported a highly profitable weekend.
Thank you to all of the event sponsors and, of course, the volunteers. Our staff of six multiplies to what feels like a team of 6,000! We are humbled by all of your generosity. Please take a moment to see our “Thank You” in this edition of the Coastal Point.
Safety is our primary concern, so a special thanks to DelDOT, Sussex County paramedics, local and state police departments, local EMTs and fire companies, ARES Group and Coastal Spokes Club, who joined forces to make our cyclists and community safe throughout the day.
The Chamber is thankful to all those involved in the organization and implementation of the event and the friendly, positive manner in representing both the event and community. In addition, thank you to the community as a whole for your patience and support, especially the Saturday morning of the event.
The success of the 27th Annual Ocean to Bay Bike Tour lies in the collaboration with our members, businesses and entire community. We, as a Chamber, are blessed to live and work with outstanding people and never take that fact for granted. Thank you!
Have a great summer.
Kristie Maravalli, Executive Director
Chamber of Commerce
FIEC grateful for support with clean-up
The Town of Fenwick Island’s Environmental Committee would like to thank the Town Council, Town staff and the community for the wonderful support shown for our first annual Earth Day clean-up.
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Earth Day (April 22), participants gathered at the Fenwick Island Town Hall for refreshments provided by McCabe’s Gourmet Market. The Center for Inland Bays was present, along with a display on pine wilt, which is affecting trees in the Fenwick community. Each participant received a commemorative tumbler and supplies for the clean-up.
Approximately 25 participants gathered over 30 full bags of trash and litter that had accumulated over the winter months. The morning concluded with a door prize drawing made possible by the following businesses: Warren’s Station, Ropewalk, Holly’s Treasure Chest, Sea Shell City, the Mahon family, Ocean Side Pizzeria and the Fenwick Surf Shop.
Thank you for your support in helping to keep Fenwick Island litter-free!
Fenwick Island Environmental Committee