Shooting Suspect Withdraws Youthful Offender Request

Arther Butler smiles for the cameras in Caledonia Superior Court on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (Photo By Todd Wellington)

A Topsham resident accused of shooting a St. Johnsbury man on Elm Street in April has had his case moved back into criminal court.

Arther S. Butler, who turned 18-years-old on Aug. 1, pleaded not guilty in April to charges of reckless endangerment and felony aggravated assault for allegedly shooting Brandon Delude, 24, twice in the back while they fought on the ground outside of 63 Elm St. in St. Johnsbury. But on May 17, Caledonia County Superior Court Judge Robert Bent, at the request of Butler’s defense attorney Dan Sedon of Chelsea, moved the case from public criminal court to non-public family court so Butler could be considered for youthful offender status.

Caledonia County Superior Court

If the family court Judge Howard E. VanBenthuysen had granted Butler youthful offender status he would have been treated as a juvenile offender.

Instead of proceeding to criminal court trial on the charges, he would have be screened by youth services and the Vermont Department of Children & Families and his case would likely have been resolved though juvenile probation.

But according to court records, Butler and attorney Sedon withdrew their youthful offender request this week which sent the case back into public criminal court.

Butler was 17-years-old at the time of his alleged crimes.

According to court documents, Butler shot Delude twice in the back with a 9 mm handgun after Butler pointed the weapon at Delude’s fiance, Brooke Hornbeck Fielder. Police said they found Delude on the ground bleeding from gunshot wounds in the lower left quadrant of his back and near his left shoulder. Delude survived the shooting, but was seriously injured.

Hornbeck Fielder told investigators the incident began just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2 when Butler’s co-defendant in the case, John H. “JJ” Emerson III, 18, of Newbury, brought a “folding rifle” into a friend’s apartment on Elm Street and that a dispute over the gun spilled onto the street where Hornbeck Fielder said she disarmed Emerson.

It was then, according to the report, that Butler pointed his gun at Hornbeck Fielder prompting Delude to tackle Butler and wrestle with him on the ground until he was shot.

Both suspects then fled the scene said police and were on the the run until they turned themselves into state police at the Westminster Barracks.

Emerson was charged with felony accessory after the fact for allegedly helping Butler elude police. The court has since ordered Emerson’s case transferred to juvenile court for consideration as a youthful offender.

In Vermont, the youthful offender law can be applied to defendants up to the age of 22.

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