Butler Trial Testimony Draws Emotions

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

PORT ST. JOE Prosecutors plan to bring-in expert witnesses Thursday, after an emotional day of testimony Wednesday in the trial of 60-year-old Walton Henry Butler.

Butler is charged with second degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of a Port St. Joe neighbor, 32-year-old Everett Gant.

Everett Gant's friends and family shed tears Wednesday as they saw photos of the scene photos at the pine ridge apartments.

Authorities say Gant went to Walton Henry Butler's apartment that evening to ask him to stop using racial slurs around children in the neighborhood.

When Gant knocked on the door, butler shot Gant in the head with a .22 caliber rifle, then went back inside and finished cooking his dinner.

"The next is Ken coming through the back door saying that Everett had been shot," said Pamela Rogers, Gant's former girlfriend.

Butler did call paramedics and sheriff's deputies after the shooting.

"He threatened to kill me and I just shot him. I need ya'll to come here and pick him up," said Butler in a 911 call.

"Okay. Is he still alive?," responded the 911 operator.

"He's moving out there right now. He's on my back patio," said Butler.

Paramedics took Gant to the hospital were he died several weeks later. Deputies who responded say Butler was eating his dinner when they arrived, and seemed unconcerned that he'd just shot Gant.

Some of Wednesday's testimony centered on who opened the back door to Butler's apartment, where Gant was standing.

One state witness says it was a friend of Butler's who was drinking and playing cards with him.

"He leaned over the top of picnic table, tapped on the glass. Robby Lynn reached over, unlocked the door, slid it open and I heard the shot and Everett fell forward," said Kenneth Dunham, a friend of Gant's.

Another prosecution witness says Gant came to Butler's apartment unannounced.

"All I know is the black man come up through the back glass sliding door, push it open, and i said 'Walt, you got company' and he stepped in the living room," said Robert Lynn, a friend of Butler's.

The self-defense claims will be central to Butler's defense.

Prosecutors are expected to call several expert witnesses Thursday, then rest their case. No word if the defense will put Butler on the stand.

A jury could get the case as early as Thursday afternoon.


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