Accused Shooter Found Sleeping In Car With STJ Corrections Officer

Arther Butler, 18, of Topsham, leaves the courtroom in Caledonia County Superior Court on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. (Photo by Dana Gray)

Berlin, N.H. police say they found Arther Butler sitting in a parked vehicle with a Vermont Corrections Officer nearly 100 miles from his court-ordered curfew address in Topsham.

The 18-year-old Butler, who is accused of shooting a man twice on Elm Street in St. Johnsbury, is now being held in a Coos County jail after he was reportedly found with alcohol and marijuana, and according to police, resisted arrest and tried to escape police custody early Monday.

At the time of his interaction with Berlin police a few minutes past 1 a.m. on Monday, Butler was under court order to be at a residence on the Willey Hill Road in Topsham. The 24-hour curfew is one of his pre-trial release conditions while he awaits trial for the alleged shooting of Brandon Delude in April 2019.

According to Berlin police, Butler was a passenger in a vehicle parked at Nansen Wayside Park in Milan, N.H. The vehicle was running and Patrol Officer Adam Labonte noted an open case of the alcohol drink Smirnoff Ice in the backseat and an open bottle of Smirnoff Ice in a compartment of the passenger side door. Also in the back seat, stated Officer Labonte, was a “duty belt and a green and black jacket with a patch on the shoulder that read ‘Vermont Corrections.’”

The occupants, later identified as Butler and Summer Bilodeau, were asleep in the car. Bilodeau was in the driver’s seat. Officer Labonte noted in his affidavit that Bilodeau was a corrections officer.

Rachel Feldman, from the corrections commissioner’s office, said Bilodeau is still employed with the department of corrections and officials are looking into the situation with Butler. “If it’s warranted there will be an internal investigation,” said Feldman.

The police report notes that Butler exited the car and started to run away. He tripped and fell and an officer tried to get control of him, but Butler fought to get away, stated Officer Labonte. Despite being stunned by a Taser, Butler continued to struggle, according to the officer. An officer, noted only as “Officer Dumas,” was treated at Androscoggin Valley Hospital for a shoulder injury suffered in the struggle with Butler.

When Butler tired, he was handcuffed and escorted to the police cruiser where a search of his backpack revealed a gallon-bag sized plastic bag with marijuana in it. Butler also went to the hospital complaining about an injury, and on his walk back into the police station, tried to run away from officers, the affidavit notes. Police caught him after he tripped and fell.

Butler’s new criminal charges out of New Hampshire are two counts of resisting arrest, escape, drug possession and underage alcohol possession. He appeared in the Berlin District Court and was ordered held without bail.

Caledonia County State’s Attorney Jessica Zaleski said her office has not yet determined how Butler’s New Hampshire detention will impact the prosecution of Butler in Caledonia County.

After initially trying to evade police following the shooting in April 2019, Butler and John H. “JJ” Emerson III, of Newbury, turned themselves in. Emerson was charged with felony accessory after the fact for allegedly helping Butler elude police after the shooting. Butler was held for a time but released last fall while his case proceeds. In addition to the curfew order, he was given other conditions of release that forbid contact with Emerson. Butler is accused of violating the no contact order multiple time through social media.

Another condition of his release required Butler to write letters to the court about what he’s doing. He generally writes about routine activities such as working around the house and helping his parents and his efforts to take college classes. But in his letter filed in Caledonia Superior Court on June 24, he announced that he is going to be a father because his girlfriend is pregnant.

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