I'm not here to write the story about the murder of three people, the Butts family. That's already been done, told by journalist Sonny Long, who followed the Butt's Family murders almost from the beginning. Without his commitment, the murders most likely would never have come to the level it is today, which is that the long-time suspect, Kevin Hailey, pleaded guilty to strangling Gerri Faye Butts, the single mother of two children. I understand Mr. Long is finishing up a book on the the Butt's family.
Sonny Long provided everything one could possibly want in sleuthing a crime, a heinous crime that took the innocent lives of three persons - Gerri Faye, Jessica and Mackenzie Butts.
Sonny Long, put this WEBSITE together, and this timeline of events, beginning with the following:
Place - Atlanta, Texas (approx 20 miles from Texarkana)Population - 6,400
Police department - - 21 employees - - 16 police officers
Gerri Faye Butts, 29, and her daughters, Jessica, 11, and MacKenzie, 3.
Gerri worked for minimum wage at Stanco, a safety glove manufacturer. She lived in a trailer with her 2 daughters. They had different fathers, neither father was in the picture.
Gerri Faye had been arrested for selling marijuana in 1985. 21 people were caught in that "bust" - - only 2 didn't do time - - one was Gerri Faye.
Is it possible she made a deal to stay out of jail? Did she have any enemies from that time?
The Butts had received "scary" phone calls shortly before the murders. One said that they would all be dead in eight days. One of Jessica's friends at school was supposed to be in a skit the next week, but she hurt herself and on January 24th asked Jessica to take her place. Jessica said she better not agree to do that, she might be dead by then. This information came from a counselor at Jessica's school.
Reading though Sonny Long's comprehensive reporting on the murders, one finds that the alleged suspect, Kevin Hailey, wasn't the only suspect.
"OTHER SUSPECTS"; credit: Sonny Long::
"Bret Lawless was thought to be a suspect from early on, but he had an alibi (Lanette Butts) and passed a lie detector test. More than one person interviewed said that there was a "dispute" between Lawless and Gerri Faye over some land he wanted the family to sell. Gerri Faye was reportedly the lone holdout.
Bret was named by Atlanta Police as a possible suspect in Hailey's probable cause hearing, and Kevin's mother called him the killer on the Ma ury Povich Show."
Still, Kevin Hailey remained what most considered the prime suspect. He lived in the same neighborhood and the family, and although he didn't drive, (had lost his license or some such thing), during his recent trial, and previous ones, the defense argued he was home, and couldn't have traveled to the Butt's family home. Obviously the prosecution argued he lived in the same neighborhood - he could have walked!
But why would Kevin Hailey, former boyfriend and friend to the Butt's family, murder them all? And what happened during the ensuing investigation with so much evidence available?
During the Winter of 2004, I was assisting Brianna Maitland's family in there effort to find her. As fate would have it they asked me to work with a criminal profiler out of Texas. I call him Sam as he wishes anonymity. While we spoke mostly about Brianna Maitland, I discovered "Sam" had been involved the the Butt's family murders. What follows are some excerpts from e-mails we exchanged. It provide a unique perspective on really happens during an investigation.
Aug 27, 2009
SAM: I was involved in the very begining when the murders occuredm chief scott was over the investigation the first time we arrested hailey. Then the same ones who attacked me had chief scott ran off. That left no who was willing to push the case. I took it upon myself after 10 years to start pushing the case again. That's when they came after me.
Fri, Aug 28, 2009
SAM: I lived in Texarkana and I was a criminal investigator for the army at
the time. Worked part time (weekends) for the Atlanta Texas Police Dept.
Chief Scott was a retired Dallas Homicide Investigator and a good
friend. He wasn't run out of town but they pressured him so much he quit
the Chiefs job and got completely out of police work. He lived about 6
to 8 miles outside of Atlanta and still does. He had a series of strokes
and is partially paralyzed now.
All the other officers were afraid to do anything because they were
scared they would lose their job and they would have if they pushed the
case. I didn't make my living with the City of Atlanta and since I was
involved with the case from the beginning I decided to push it.
In 1992 I was in my early thirties gun hoe and full of piss and vinegar.
The day the Butts bodies were discovered was Monday morning around 0800.
I was in a dentist chair having a root canal when I heard about it. By
the time I made it down there they had removed the bodies. I did not see
the bodies but I possess a crime scene video tape if it still works?
I studied all the crime scene photos, autopsy reports, evidence and
helped in the investigation. I also helped develop some of the evidence.
Chief Scott told me everything and I had access to the complete case
file. I'll be really surprised if I'm not called to testify over some of
the evidence. I hope I can stay out of it but will see. BobKat when I was
30 years old nobody came on my turf (beat) and murdered children and got
away with it.
Motive butts? Kevin owed geri money and wouldn't pay her. She told some of her friends she was going to get in his face. I guess she did.
I'll leave you with the following description of the scene where Jessica was found murdered in her bedroom; Warning, contains graphic descriptions of violence.
Jessica, from the following: "TIMELINE 1992", credit: Sonny Long
"11 year old Jessica was found on the bed. She was wearing a t-shirt, her panties had been removed and she had been sexually assaulted. Later it would come out that she was killed first - - the sexual assault came after her death - -she had been injured but had not bled. Apparently there was a tear in the vagina but the hymen itself was intact.
One source told me that three pubic hairs were found at that scene. Two on the sheets - and one was on her toe - - a bit of mud was on her toe (had the killer carried it in? Stepped on her toe, perhaps? Her feet were on the floor, her buttocks at the end of
the bed.) The pubic hairs were checked and it was reported that they belonged to Kevin Hailey. Again, could they have been there from weeks before? Another source said what was found on her toe was a HAIR MASS, like from the tub drain.
Enter the egg - - there was an egg casing on one of the hairs -- the egg of a crab. The egg was photographed and studied and the experts say it was in day 7 or 8 of a 10 day incubation period.
When Kevin Hailey was questioned 4 days after the murder - -he was suffering with a new outbreak of crabs.
There was no semen or DNA found on her body or the sheets."
"Justice for Jessica" is about evidence and facts. How can those be diminished? The evidence found on Jessica, even DNA available on the phone cord used to strangle her, is or should be more than enough to bring justice to Jessica's brutal murder. And the drowning of a baby.
You decide for yourself, if justice was served? Myself, I think not.
I may be back with more.