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Butler to be tried as an adult, gag order issued

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POLSON — Nathan Adam Butler, the Arlee teen accused of stabbing his 51-year-old stepfather to death and injuring his mother and another man last November, will be tried as an adult. 

Butler is charged with deliberate homicide, attempted deliberate homicide, and assault with a weapon, all felonies. If convicted, deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide carry maximum sentences of life in prison, and assault with a weapon carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. 

As Butler is a juvenile, he was transported and held at the Missoula County Detention Center as Lake County has no juvenile detention facility. According to a Lake County Detention Center employee, Butler has since been transferred to the Regenerating Youthful Offenders correctional facility in Deer Lodge. 

Deputy Lake County Attorney James Lapotka said he cannot comment on court documents, hearings, proceedings or facts of the case as “(District Court Judge C.B. McNeil) has effectively issued a gag order prohibiting any of the parties from discussing anything in the case with the media.”

The court case has been continued several times. According to Butler’s second unopposed motion to continue suppression hearing, omnibus hearing and jury trial dated April 23, “There is good cause for granting Mr. Butler’s request (for a continuance) because the nature of the charges against him are of the most serious kind and, given his age, he needs additional time to consider plea offers, fully discuss them with counsel, and make an informed decision to accept the plea offer or proceed with trial.”

And the alleged crime is quite serious.

According to court documents, officers responded to a 911 call reporting a stabbing in Arlee around 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2012. Emergency personnel found Fisher, Butler’s stepfather, unresponsive and pronounced him dead at the scene. Butler’s mother, Dacia Vollin, had been stabbed several times and was transported to St. Patrick’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries. She remained in the hospital for several days before she was released.

A third stabbing victim, Theodore Perry, was also transported to St. Patrick’s Hospital. He was treated and released the same day. 

Butler was apprehended in Arlee about two hours after the stabbing. According to Lake County Undersheriff Daniel Yonkin, Butler was found and arrested in a garage south of Fisher’s residence on Laughing Louis Adams Lane. Officers obtained consent from the structure’s owner and conducted two searches. The first search resulted in Butler’s arrest. Yonkin could not comment on what officers found during the second search. 

Butler was transported to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office where he was interviewed by Lake County Sheriff’s detectives after waiving his right to an attorney. Butler appeared in court Nov. 21, 2012 with Noel Larrivee and Ashley Morigeau as his council and plead not guilty to all charges. 

During the interview with investigators, Butler said, “My mom came into my room, and I stabbed her multiple times. My stepdad came out, and I did the same to him. (Theodore Perry) came out; I stabbed him once; and that was it.”

According to court documents, Butler ambushed his mother and stabbed her in the throat several times with a green-handled knife. After hearing her scream for help, Fisher came to her aid while Butler went to the kitchen to get a long, meat-cutting knife. Butler then stabbed his stepfather until the blade of the knife broke. 

Perry came out of his bedroom to aid Fisher. Butler produced a pocket knife and stabbed Perry; he then stabbed Fisher a final time. Fisher tackled Butler, bringing them both to the ground. Butler worked his way free and fled the house.  

Butler told investigators he had taken the green-handled knife from the kitchen several hours earlier. Butler said he had been thinking about hurting his parents and was waiting for his mother to enter his room so he could stab her.

Butler is scheduled to appear at a motion to suppress hearing Sept. 11 and an omnibus hearing Oct. 16 with a jury trial commencing Nov. 18.


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