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Waltham Man Headed To Maine To Face Murder Charges

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Juan Contreras (Photo courtesy: Maine State Police)

Juan Contreras (Photo courtesy: Maine State Police)

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) — A 27-year-old Massachusetts man waived extradition Friday and will return to Maine, where he will be charged with murder in the June stabbing death of an 81-year-old woman in her apartment.

Juan Contreras, of Waltham, was arrested at his home at about 6:45 p.m. Thursday on a fugitive-from-justice charge. Maine State Police detectives planned to bring him to Maine following his arraignment in Waltham District Court on Friday.

Contreras will be charged in the June 21 slaying of Grace Burton, who died after somebody broke into her Farmington apartment and stabbed her during a struggle, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said.

Contreras was tied to killing through DNA evidence, but McCausland declined to specify what led investigators to Contreras. He expected Contreras to make his first court appearance in Maine early next week and said he anticipated more details would be revealed in court papers once Contreras returns to Maine.

Contreras was living in Farmington at the time of Burton’s death, police said. He advertised himself on the Internet seeking work as a pet sitter and dog walker.

Burton’s killer got into her apartment through an unlocked window by cutting through a screen, investigator said. At the time, police said they believed her killer had suffered knife wounds during the attack and lost a significant amount of blood. Authorities believe robbery was the motive.

In the ensuing investigation, detectives interviewed more than 200 people and collected DNA from at least 70. Burton’s family offered a reward of more than $14,000 in hopes of finding the person responsible.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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