Jury selection begins in Brian Butler trial - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Jury selection begins in Brian Butler trial

Updated:

By Eric Sollman
WAFF 48 News Reporter

Hopefully tomorrow's weather won't have an affect on jury selection for the Brian Butler trial.

He's one of 2 men accused of killing Grant Police Chief Verlon Lemaster nearly 5 years ago.

Chief Lemaster was a leader on his force and loved in his community and you can see that from this monument dedicated in his honor.

However, the community out cry over his case has made jury selection extremely crucial from both sides.

Clouds cover the sky this Monday outside the Marshall County courthouse in Guntersville, but inside the decision is clear.

A jury must be selected in the capital murder of Brian Butler.

"I really don't see us having a jury seated in this case until Wednesday or Thursday of this week," says defense attorney Bruce Gardner.

"Tomorrow we'll be questioning the jurors to try to come up with a jury and hopefully begin the case on Thursday," says Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall. 

Butler, now sitting in a courtroom wearing a button-down shirt and glasses, has worn a jumpsuit and shackles for the last 4 and a half years.

In August of 2003, Butler was arrested for the murder of Lemaster.

For Butler's defense attorney Bruce Gardner, the elapsed time has hurt his case because Butler, at the time, was 17. He is now an adult.

"The helpful part is that I've had plenty of time to prepare, and I'll be ready," says Gardner. 

The tough task of selecting a jury has taken 2 courtrooms and lots of shuffling between them, but perhaps the 2 courthouse system in Marshall County has helped to narrow the list.

"To serve on a jury in this case, individuals have to live off of Sand Mountain. We'll pull from Arab, Guntersville, and Grant, from those areas," says Marshall. 

Butler is pleading not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Because of his age at the time of the murder, he can't be executed if found guilty.

You can send Eric a comment at esollman@waff.com.

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