Case against man accused of stabbing ex-girlfriend to death goes forward

Winston Leroy Burton (Photo: Northampton County Sheriff's Office)

NASSAWADOX, Va. (WAVY) — The case against a man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend on the Eastern Shore will move forward, a judge ruled Thursday.

Northampton County Sheriff’s deputies accuse Winston Burton of stabbing Shelli Crockett to death outside Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital last November. He is facing a first-degree murder charge for her death.

Crockett, Burton’s ex-girlfriend, had taken out a protective order against Burton two months before her death, according to court records.

A Dark History: Prosecuting Violent Offenders

10 On Your Side investigations revealed Burton has a history of violent offenses dating back to 1976, including shooting his girlfriend in the face and repeatedly stabbing his wife with a steak knife.

During Burton’s preliminary hearing Thursday, Crockett’s family cried as they listened to testimony that grew more and more graphic with each witness who took the stand.

Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital’s facilities director told the judge he remembers seeing Burton that morning, hanging around the dumpsters.

That’s where Crockett always parked, according to two other hospital employees.

Two of them saw all or part of the attack when she arrived around 7:30 a.m., they testified.

A woman who went to school with Crockett and worked with her for many years at the hospital said in court that as soon as she came to work that morning, she heard screaming, and turned to see a man halfway in Crockett’s car.

The witness testified that she began screaming as well, and jogged slowly toward the car. She picked up her speed when she realized that Crockett was not being punched, as she initially thought.

“I saw her being half-dragged, half getting out of the car. He had her in a headlock, and at that time, I thought he was punching her, but then I saw every time he pulled his fist away, I could see blood fly.”

The woman testified that she kept screaming and running until she came close enough that she was standing over Crockett, who was on the ground as Burton sat on top, still stabbing her.

“I got right up behind him and I screamed for him to leave her alone and get off her,” the witness said. “At first, he had no reaction. Then he got up, got right in my face, and said ‘F— it, call the cops.’ Then he walked away. […] When he left, I pretty much focused on Shelli and trying to help her in whatever way I could.”

Other hospital workers testified that Burton nearly ran them down as he drove away.

Shortly after, he walked into the lobby of the Northampton County Regional Jail, according to a deputy who also testified.

Burton looked upset and was bleeding profusely from the side of his right wrist, the deputy said.

“I asked him what happened,” the deputy testified. “He said he stabbed his ex-girlfriend at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, and her name was Shelli Crockett.”

Burton’s attorney did not call any witnesses. The judge ruled there was enough evidence to send certify the charges to the grand jury.

Stay with WAVY.com for continuing coverage of the case.