Butler pleads guilty to child neglect
The Morgan County man accused of murdering his adopted son with a handgun last June 2011 pled guilty
to child neglect resulting in death during a hearing before Circuit Court Judge Andrew Frye on Monday, March 19. William Allan Butler, 73, of Fulton Road, Hedgesville, was indicted by a Morgan County Grand Jury on murder charges last September.
On Monday, he pled to the lesser charge of child neglect resulting in death. Judge Frye sentenced Butler to 3-to-15 years in prison under a plea agreement.
Butler will get credit against the sentence for the time he has already served in jail. He has been in jail since June 2011.
During the brief plea hearing, Butler gave no accounting of the events leading up to the shooting of his 13-year-old adopted son, Andrew Arthur Butler.
Prosecutor Debra McLaughlin, appearing on behalf of the state in the case against Butler, indicated that he was guilty of child neglect because he put a loaded gun into his son’s hands, and the boy had no training or experience with firearms.
The two were outside at their home firing handguns on Saturday evening, June 18.
At the time, Butler told police that he was standing five feet in front of his son, showing him where to fire the gun.
Butler said he heard a shot from behind him, and believed it was directed at him. Butler spun around and fired at his son, striking him in the right eye, and killing him, according to the original criminal complaint.