Jury selection began Monday in the second degree murder trial of Walt Butler, with 83 Gulf County residents interviewed by State Attorney Robert Sombathy and Deputy Public Defender Mark Sims. By the end of the day, 23 potential jurors had been released.


Jury selection began Monday in the second degree murder trial of Walt Butler, with 83 Gulf County residents interviewed by State Attorney Robert Sombathy and Deputy Public Defender Mark Sims. By the end of the day, 23 potential jurors had been released.



Circuit Court Judge John Fishel aims to have a jury of six with two alternates seated by noon on Tuesday. Once the jury is empaneled, the trial will begin.



Butler is charged with shooting and killing Everett Gant in July of last year in Port St. Joe.



Gant approached Butler’s Pine Ridge apartment after Butler had been accused of using racial slurs directed at children in the apartment complex. Butler shot Gant between the eyes with a .22 rifle and left him bleeding on the doorstep before calling 911 and sitting back down to finish his dinner.



He expressed inconvenience at being arrested for shooting a “(racial epithet),” according to the arresting affidavit.



Six weeks after the shooting Gant passed away from the injuries.