PINELLAS COUNTY - In a horrific case of domestic violence, Robert Burton Jr., who repeatedly stabbed his ex-girlfriend in the face and neck, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in a Pinellas County courtroom Tuesday after he was ruled competent to stand trial.
Melissa Dohme was 19 when she was brutally attacked at her Clearwater home and left in critical condition in January 2012.
She later identified Burton, 20 at the time, as her attacker.
Two witnesses intervened and stopped the stabbing. They were able to provide a description of the attacker, who fled in a vehicle.
Burton was later found. Deputies said had overdosed on pills and was driving before being involved in a traffic crash in Hudson.
On Tuesday, Burton was found competent to stand trial and jury selection was expected to begin immediately.
Burton then made an open plea of guilty.
The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled a status check for next week.
Dohme's recovery has been inspirational.
She graduated from St. Petersburg College as Student of the Year.
She backpacked through Europe and has been an advocate for others affected by domestic violence.