Alleged Elm Street shooter Arther Butler wants to be tried as a white person.

And he has a specific plan for that to happen.

According to court documents, Butler filed a hand-written motion from jail in the fall requesting that a “white person” take his place in the courtroom during his aggravated assault trial.

Butler, 20, of Topsham, has been in and out of jail several times since being charged with shooting and seriously injuring Brandon Delude, 24, outside of 63 Elm St. in St. Johnsbury in April of 2019.

He has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of aggravated assault and is currently being held in pre-trial detention at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.

Butler Request

Butler initially filed his “Motion to Order The State to Reoffer the Plea or Alternatively, Defendant’s Demand for a Speedy Trial and to Be Tried As a White Person” on Nov. 1, 2021, in Caledonia Superior Court - Criminal Division, where his criminal charges are pending.

However, Butler filed the motion on his own without the assistance of his defense attorney, Dan Sedon of Chelsea.

Because of this, the court sent it back.

“Your paperwork is being returned to you for the following reason,” wrote the court in response. “You are represented by an attorney, all filings need to be filed by your attorney.”

Nine days later, the motion was re-filed in the civil division of Windsor County Court which is in the same county as the correctional facility where Butler is being held.

On Page 2 of the motion, Butler asks the court to “order a white person to sit/stand in place of the defendant any time actual, alternate, or prospective jurors are present, and order all other relief in the interests of justice.”

The motion was dismissed by Windsor County Judge Robert P. Gerety Jr. on Dec. 29, 2021.

Jury Concerns

Butler argued in his motion that he can’t get a fair trial in Vermont because he is Black and that data from the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 93 percent of Vermont residents identify as white.

“An overwhelming majority of these white residents are conservative-leaning, financially stable, legally un-educated and untrained, myopic thinking, older, rural-lifestyled, Vermonters,” wrote Butler.

He then advised the court that he is “black, liberal-leaning, financially indigent, semi-legally educated and trained through personal experiences, open-minded, younger, urban life-styled…”

Butler goes on to say that a Vermont jury would likely not give him a fair trial if he was in the courtroom.

“Virtually any jury drawn with the defendant seated/standing at the defense table will be a jury of the putative victim’s peers, not a jury of the defendant’s peers,” wrote Butler.

He also cites in his motion census data about the national incarceration rate of Black Americans.

“Approximately 13 percent of American citizens are black, yet the nation’s jail and prison population is approximately 40 percent black,” wrote Butler. “As one can see, the problem is a systemic one…”

The pending criminal case against Butler is now scheduled for a status conference on Feb. 23 at 1:30 p.m. in Caledonia Superior Court.


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