Trial set for W.Va. man accused of threatening officer with spike

August 23, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Douglas Butler
Douglas Butler

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The trial for a Martinsburg man accused of attempting to stab a police officer with a railroad spike in March was set for Nov. 27 at his arraignment hearing Thursday in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Douglas Charles Butler, 45, who was shot in the chest by a Martinsburg police officer during the altercation, was indicted in May on one count of attempted malicious assault.

Butler was arraigned Thursday by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge John C. Yoder, who read the indictment in its entirety after court-appointed attorney Thomas Stanley told the court he didn’t feel his client could give him direction to waive it.

A not guilty plea to the felony charge was entered on Butler’s behalf during Thursday’s hearing.

Butler was hospitalized at a psychiatric hospital in Weston, W.Va., after being treated for the gunshot wound, and Stanley told the court he felt Butler needed to be evaluated. 

Butler was returned to Eastern Regional Jail without a diagnosis or a recommendation for medication, according to Stanley.

“I have questions about his competency,” Stanley said.

Butler, without appearing to consult with his attorney in court beforehand, told Yoder on Thursday he would be willing to enter a plea to a lesser offense “in a heartbeat” after being incarcerated for six months.

Butler was shot by Martinsburg Police Officer David McDonald after officers responded to the 400 block of Winchester Avenue on March 11 for a report of a man who had threatened another person with a sharp object and broken the person’s car window, according to police.

Martinsburg Patrol Officer David McDonald caught up with the man on Norwalk Avenue near Porter Avenue, police said.

The man walked toward McDonald with a railroad spike in his right hand, raised above his head in a stabbing position. The officer told the man several times to drop the spike and to get on the ground, but he did not follow orders, according to police.

As the man moved closer to the officer, who was backing away, the officer drew his gun and continued to give the man verbal commands, police said.

The man did not comply with orders, so the officer fired one round, striking him in the chest, police said.

After being shot, police said the man stopped, turned away from the officer and began walking away, according to court records.

Another officer then ordered the man to the ground, but he refused, police said in court documents. After being shocked with a stun gun, the man fell to the ground, but he continued to disregard officers’ commands, and the weapon was fired several more times before he complied, court documents said.

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