Arther Butler’s mother signed for her son’s $10,000 bail earlier this year and then helped him violate his court-ordered conditions of release.
That’s according to testimony in Caledonia Superior Court on Tuesday where Butler’s parents were facing a possible $10,000 bill from the bail bond company.
But Judge Michael J. Harris decided to give the Butlers an $8,000 break.
“It’s kind of a complicated, intersecting, situation we have,” said Judge Harris as he explained why he didn’t think the Butlers should have to re-pay the whole amount to the bail bond company. “I also understand the parents are of somewhat limited means…It doesn’t seem right to the court.”
The judge then ordered the forfeiture of just $2,000 of the bail which AAA Bail Bonds of Rutland will have to pay the court. The bail bond company can then try to collect that amount from the Butlers - but not the full $10,000.
The judge then discharged the remaining $8,000.
Butler, 19, has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault for allegedly shooting Brandon Delude, 24, in the back outside of 63 Elm St. in St. Johnsbury in April of 2019. He has been accused of violating his conditions of release multiple times since being charged including fleeing police and the courts in April after he allegedly left his court-ordered curfew residence at his parents’ house in Topsham. He was later apprehended as a fugitive from justice by police in North Conway N.H.
The judge made his bail decision after AAA Bail Bonds owner Jamie Zargo testified that Butler’s mother, Christine Butler, told to him that she had provided her son with rides and a car that he allegedly used to violate his curfew.
“She told me that he was working up in Gorham-Berlin (N.H.) area and that she picks him up and drops him off,” said Zargo. The court had not granted Arther Butler a work exception as part of his conditions when he has released from pre-trial detention earlier this year after being bailed out by AAA Bail Bonds.
“When I visited the Butler home on May 2, I learned that he was driving the vehicle and at first it was said that he had taken the car,” said Zargo. “And then I later learned that Christine Butler had given him the keys to the car.”
Christine Butler and her husband Steven Butler are also facing contempt-of-court charges filed by the Caledonia County State’s Attorney’s Office for allegedly failing in their duty to report release violations by their son - as required by the court when they were appointed as his release custodians earlier this year.
Judge Harris said Tuesday before he issued his bail ruling that he has not yet ruled on or even reviewed the contempt allegations against the Butlers.
“I do feel as though, from the information, that the Butler seniors failed at their (custodian) obligation,” said Judge Harris. “There are 3-4 occasions where Mr. Butler in violation of the curfew was in cars provided or owned by his parents including a motor vehicle accident…”
Arther Butler was apprehended in North Conway after police there received a tip from AAA Bail Bonds that Butler was staying in a local hotel. Zargo told the court he and his team tracked down Butler’s location after several days of searching for him throughout the North Country.
“Everyday, myself and a few agents that I have working with me were out looking for Arther,” said Zargo. “Just hours and hours, for days up there looking for him…”
Zargo said his efforts to find Arther Butler and make him report to court as ordered have cost his company several thousand dollars.
Butler is now being held for lack of $60,000 bail and a new court-approved custodian.