Jury seated; Butler trial begins

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

During his statements, Sombathy focused on Butler’s apparent intoxication the night of July 30, 2012 and made it clear to the jury that Butler and the victim had no prior issues.

“They were not enemies at all,” said Sombathy. “They got along fine.”

Sombathy explained that Gant showed up at Butler’s apartment unannounced and the jurors were asked to consider if Butler handled the situation like a “reasonable prudent and cautious person.”

Butler had used racial slurs against a child in the community which spurred Gant to approach the defendant’s home.

“This shooting meant no more to Butler than shooting a dog,” said Sombathy.

Deputy Public Defender Mark Sims offered a different perspective and focused his arguments on a man who felt threatened and simply defended himself in his home.

According to the arresting affidavit by former Sheriff Joe Nugent, after shooting Gant, Butler closed the door, pulled his dinner out of the oven and sat down to eat.

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