NORTHAMPTON Co., Va. (Delmarva Now) -- A man convicted in the 2016 killing of Riverside hospital worker Shelli Crockett was sentenced to life in prison by a Northampton County judge Monday.
Winston Burton, 58, was convicted of first-degree murder by a Northampton County jury in July.
Judge W. Revell Lewis III also sentenced Burton to serve 15 years of a suspended sentence in relation to a 2005 case of malicious wounding on top of the life term.
“This is one day before this happened a year ago,” said Judge W. Revell Lewis III. “Shelli Crockett was 42 years old. Because of what you did, she is not with us anymore.”
During his trial, the court heard that on Nov. 28, 2016, Burton laid in wait for Crockett, his former girlfriend, to arrive at the hospital where she worked in the environmental services department.
It was 7 a.m. Burton was armed with a knife. When Crockett drove up and parked, Burton walked to her car, reached inside and stabbed her.
The beginning of this attack was seen by a male co-worker who ran into the hospital to get a security guard. When they ran back outside they saw Burton speeding out of the parking lot in the red car he usually drove. It was too late.
Court testimony July 18 and July 19 indicated that people around the hospital knew Burton because he and Crockett had had a relationship and he often came to the hospital while they were together. Other witnesses said they knew him from living in the same community.
The most riveting testimony in the two-day murder trial came from Amanda Butler, who worked in the radiology department. She and Crockett went to school together and both worked at Riverside Shore Memorial hospital.
Butler told the court she arrived at the parking lot at about 7:20 a.m.
“As I got out of my van, I heard screaming, I turned around and saw Shelli’s door open. A man, I thought, was beating her. He was punching her,” she said in her testimony.
Butler said she walked across the parking lot toward Crockett's car.
“I got close enough to see blood splatters," she said. "Then he was dragging her over toward the dumpster.”
Witnesses from the Virginia department of forensic science testified during the trial that Crockett’s DNA was found on the glove Burton was wearing as well as on surgical arm sleeves he had on covering his upper arms.
The medical examiner who performed the autopsy testified that Crockett was stabbed 46 times, 20 of those stab wounds were in her head and neck.
“In my more than 40 years as an attorney, this is probably the most brutal and horrific crime I have ever had to deal with. I have read the presentence report and did not detect any sign of remorse. The word monster came to my mind,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bruce Jones said at the sentencing.
Because Burton was previously convicted of three or more previous, violent felonies, he faced a mandatory life sentence for this conviction.
Court records show Burton has a history of violent behavior dating back to at least 1980 resulting in his spending years in prison.
In the 2006 case, Burton had pleaded guilty in the stabbing a man who found Burton “taking stuff out of his mother’s house.” Burton had been sentenced to 20 years for that crime with 15 years suspended.
Defense attorney Carl Bundick said the life sentence was adequate and asked the judge not impose the additional 15 years of the suspended time.
After the sentencing, the judge told Burton the court will appoint an attorney for an appeal.