Butler murder trial in review

Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 09:43 AM.

Jury selection

The 83 potential jurors were questioned by assistant State Attorney Robert Sombathy and Sims about their familiarity with the case, their history with firearms, whether or not they had ever experienced a traumatic event, how they reacted to it and even what self-defense meant to them.

“What we do is not always easy,” said Sims as he spoke to potential jurors for the first time. “The questions might seem nosy…they are.”

Because of the hate crime enhancement originally charged in the case, Sombathy and Sims asked if hearing racial slurs would offend anyone so highly that Butler couldn’t be forgiven and receive fair judgment.

Sombathy further explained to the potential jurors that it was the burden of the state to prove that the defendant was guilty and that Butler wasn’t required to take the stand.

After three lengthy interview sessions, the jury of six along with two alternates was chosen by midday Tuesday, and opening statements began shortly after lunch.


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