SK woman still awaiting trial on murder charge
July 21, 2008 · Updated 6:08 PM
A South Kitsap woman accused of killing another woman she met at the Bethel Tavern has yet to go to trial for the murder that occurred last March.
Amber J. Debord, 33, was arrested March 13 and later charged with first-degree murder in the death of Michele Lee Burton, whom Debord went home with after drinking with her and a male friend of the victim’s hours before her death.
Debord pleaded not-guilty by reason of self-defense, and has remained in Kitsap County Jail under $500,000 bail.
Her trial was originally scheduled in May, but she waived her right to a trial within 60 days.
Her new trial date is Sept. 8, and her next hearing is Friday afternoon.
The defendant was arrested at Burton’s home near Panther Lake in West Bremerton after calling 911 to report that “someone is dead.”
Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the home and found Burton, 36, dead outside, partially nude and covered in blood with clumps of hair in her fists.
Debord was also reportedly covered in blood and initially found holding a knife.
Debord’s clothing was collected by investigators for evidence testing, and later the defendant also requested that several items worn by Burton’s friend, who joined the women at Burton’s house before leaving them there alone, be collected and tested for blood.
Several items of the man’ clothing, including a ball cap, sweatshirts, shirt, pants and long underwear have since been collected for evidence.
In late May, the court also appointed Seattle forensic psychologist Ronald Maiuro to evaluate Debord prior to trial, at a cost to taxpayers of no more than $6,500.
Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said deputies responded to the victim’s home after a reportedly hysterical Debord called 911 at 2:02 a.m. on March 13.
Along with lacerations to her head and neck, she had numerous defensive wounds on her body that were “consistent with a violent struggle.”
While Debord at first declined to speak to deputies, she later reportedly revealed to a female corrections officer that she had been drinking at the tavern earlier and “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 said she held a knife to his throat in the past, and once had “picked him up and thrown him across the room.”
Burton’s male friend who had spent part of the evening with the two women also described Debord as being violent towards both him and Burton before he left the women alone.