Thirty-six-year-old Philip Butler of C.B.S. looked haggard as he was escorted into a St. John’s courtroom in a T-shirt and pyjama pants Tuesday morning, charged with murdering a man reported to be his brother.
Butler spent most of his court appearance looking at the ground, but lifted his head to look at Judge Lois Skanes and replied, “I do, yes,” when she read his charges and asked him if he understood them.
Police — including the RNC’s K-9 unit — as well as ambulances and members of the Rovers search and rescue team were called to a home on Comerford’s Road in Upper Gullies shortly after 8 p.m. Monday. Court documents indicate Butler lives at the address.
Butler, who is the owner of a business called First Water Inc., according to one of his Facebook accounts, is charged with the second-degree murder of George Allan Butler, whom police say was found dead in the house.
Philip Butler is also charged with breaching a court order handed to him last October, when he was convicted of two counts of uttering threats. He has a seven-page criminal record dating back to 2002, including multiple break-ins, theft, uttering threats against people and property, assault and breaching court orders.
Butler is said to be hiring a private lawyer and his next court appearance was set for June 6 to give him time to do so. He’ll appear by videolink from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s.
Skanes also ordered Butler to have no contact with five specific people, “some we know are witnesses, some we’re not sure yet,” Crown prosecutor Lisa Stead said. “This matter is relatively fresh and the investigation is ongoing.”
The RNC said in a media release its members are still collecting evidence at the crime scene and canvassing neighbours to try and find witnesses. They are asking anyone with any information that may help the investigation to contact them at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.