Man guilty of third-degree murder in death outside Pa. bar

April 01, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Gerald Buterbaugh
Gerald Buterbaugh

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — It took 3 1/2 hours Friday for a Franklin County (Pa.) jury to find Gerald Buterbaugh guilty of third-degree murder for killing Dale Steven Henry with his pickup truck outside Hillside Tavern following a bar fight last May.

The 42-year-old Hustontown, Pa., man will remain in Franklin County jail until his sentencing June 1 at 9 a.m. A third-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of up to 40 years.

Buterbaugh’s criminal homicide trial, presided over by Judge Richard Walsh, began Tuesday and had been expected to last seven days. But it ended Friday with the jury of six men and six women delivering the verdict of guilty of third-degree murder.

Walsh told the jury earlier in the week that criminal homicide is an umbrella charge with various verdicts. He listed possible verdicts in this case as first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and not guilty.

Buterbaugh was charged with running over Henry, 32, of Burnt Cabins, Pa., with his 1986 Ford truck outside the Hillside Tavern in Metal Township, Pa., on May 31 at about 2:30 a.m.

Henry was flown to Altoona (Pa) Regional Trauma Center, where he was pronounced brain dead later that day.

At the beginning of the trial, defense attorney Chris Sheffield told the jury that his client hit Henry with the truck, but it was not intentional.

During earlier testimony, Sheffield said patrons were throwing rocks and bottles at Buterbaugh’s truck, and hit it with a pool cue before Henry was struck and killed by the vehicle.

In his closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney John Lisko told jurors that Buterbaugh was not the quiet, friendly man that Sheffield had described.

Lisko also presented evidence from Shane Waters and Nathan Souders, who were passengers in Buterbaugh’s pickup truck. Both men said the defendant didn’t slow, brake or swerve as he saw Henry standing in front of his truck that night.

As the jury foreman read the third-degree murder verdict, Buterbaugh showed no emotion. But, an audible gasp came from Buterbaugh’s side of the courtroom.

Tears streamed down the faces of several of Buterbaugh’s family members as they left the courtroom. Several of those supporting him during the trial wiped tears and hugged as they exited the courtroom. They declined to comment.

Sheffield also declined to comment, as did Henry’s family and friends.

When asked if he was pleased with the verdict, Lisko said: “I argued for first-degree murder.”

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