Jury seated; Butler trial begins

Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 04:41 PM.

After 14 hours of interviews a jury of six with two alternates was empaneled Tuesday afternoon for the murder trial of Walt Butler.

Opening statements from the prosecution and defense followed before Circuit Court Judge John Fishel adjourned court for the day.

The prosecution will present its case in chief beginning Wednesday morning.

The trial is expected to last one to two days.

Ten members of the Gant family were present as State Attorney Robert Sombathy focused on Butler’s alleged racist remarks toward fellow members of the Pine Ridge apartment complex in Port St. Joe.

The racist words escalated over the course of the day and ended with Butler allegedly shooting Everett Gant between the eyes with a .22 rifle.

Butler is being charged with second-degree murder evidencing prejudice based on race.

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