Manchester woman charged with murder

A 33-year-old South Kitsap woman was charged with killing a woman she went home with after meeting up at a local bar last week, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Manchester resident Amber J. Debord pleaded not-guilty to a second-degree murder charge Monday in Kitsap County Superior Court in the apparent stabbing death of Michele L. Burton, 36, whom witnesses say was drinking with Debord at the Bethel Tavern the night of March 12.

Spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said Burton was discovered dead the next morning in front of her home near Panther Lake just north of the Mason County Line.

Deputies responded to the home after a reportedly hysterical Debord called 911 at 2:02 a.m. March 13 to report that “someone is dead.”

When deputies arrived, Wilson said they found Burton barefoot and “covered in blood,” lying on the ground outside the home on the 4400 block of Panther Lake Road.

Along with lacerations to her head and neck, she had clumps of hair in her hands and numerous defensive wounds on her body that were “consistent with a violent struggle,” according to the probable cause statement filed by the Sheriff’s Office.

Between the victim and her house, deputies found a “bloody clump of hair,” and inside the home they found more blood and clumps of hair. Also inside the home deputies located Debord, who was reportedly holding a knife and covered in blood as well.

While Debord at first declined to speak to deputies, she later reportedly revealed to a corrections officer that she had been drinking at the tavern earlier and had “drank too much alcohol.”

She went on to say that she was bisexual and she had been interested in having a sexual relationship with Burton.

When asked if she had any injuries, Debord said only that her “heart hurt.”

Deputies then contacted a former boyfriend of Debord, who described the suspect as “very violent, especially when she drank alcohol,” according to the deputies statement. The man went on to say that she held a knife to his throat in the past, and once had “picked him up and thrown him across the room.”

Deputies then talked to another man who said he had gone to the tavern that night with Burton. While they were at the bar, he said Debord came up and began talking to them, and after going outside to smoke together, the women went into the bathroom together.

He said he left the women at the bar together, but met up with them later at the victim’s home, where he observed them being physically intimate with each other.

After Debord became violent towards both him and Burton, he said left the residence and the two women stayed behind.

Deputies then talked to a bartender who was working at the Bethel Tavern the night of March 12. She remembered the trio being there and said the women “hooked up” and went outside to smoke before locking themselves in the bathroom for a half hour.

Debord was then booked into Kitsap County Jail for second-degree murder and held under $500,000 bail.

At her initial appearance in court Friday afternoon, she was polite and demure, frequently breaking into tears.

An autopsy was performed March 14 by the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office, which declined to reveal the results by request of the Sheriff’s Office.

However, one of the deputies notes in the probable cause statement that Debord had “numerous cuts, abrasions and bruises ... consistent with a stabbing type of attack,” and that Burton “also had numerous lacerations to her head and neck areas” and other injuries that were “consistent with a violent struggle.”

Detective Lt. Earl Smith said “The investigation is still in its initial stages,” and that his office was “still examining the relationship between

the two women and a motive behind this crime.”

Anyone with information about this investigation are asked to contact

Detective Mike Rodrigue at (360) 337-4479. Those wising to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at (800) CRIME-13.

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