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Wife charged in fatal Exchange Ave. stabbing

Posted by Matt Byrne  January 31, 2011 11:07 AM

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Pool photo, Jarret Bencks

Shawntina Burston, 39, of Medford, is arraigned in the stabbing death of her husband, Troy Burston, 34, today in Somerville Superior Court.

A Medford woman accused of stabbing her husband to death last night pleaded not guilty today in Somerville District Court.

Shawntina Burston, 39, is accused of first degree murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. She was ordered held without bail, and is due back in court Feb. 25 for a probable cause hearing.

Police responded to 108 Exchange Ave. about 10:45 p.m., where they discovered the victim, Troy Burston, 34, of Medford, evidencing an obvious stab wound.
Mfordbloodtrail.jpgThe victim was transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said Cara O'Brien, a spokeswoman for the office of Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, in a statement.

Shawntina was taken into custody at the scene.  

It is alleged that the defendant assaulted the victim with a knife following an argument.

A trail of blood led from the front door down a concrete walkway as crews cleaned up the scene this afternoon.

Earl Howard, Burston's attorney, said he will advocate for bail, and cited his client's clean record. Howard said Burston has no prior convictions. He said she has, however, been charged in the past with a handful of misdemeanors, the most serious of which was a 1996 disturbing the peace charge that was ultimately dismissed, he said.  

More than a dozen family members and friends of the Burston's gathered outside the courtroom, some in tears, as they grappled with the charges against the mother of two.

"Her family is like family of ours," said Tara Walden, 40, of Dorchester, a cousin of the victim who said she knew Shawnita before she and Troy were married two years ago. "I don't know why she did this."

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