Leader Blues

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

TOP STORY >>Wanted man turns himself in for murder

By SHERRY HALL
Leader staff writer

Xavier Butler, wanted for murder at a Jacksonville motel, walked into the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office on Monday to pay some outstanding fines and then told officers, “Oh, by the way, I am wanted in Pulaski County,” according to Lt. Jim Kulesa of the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office.

Lonoke County Chief Deputy Dean White immediately took Butler, 27, into custody and then contacted the Jacksonville Police Department. Kulesa said Jacksonville sent an officer to pick up Butler immediately.

Butler was then taken to the Pulaski County Jail, where he awaited a district court appearance Tuesday morning to face two counts of capital murder charges, possession of a firearm and first-degree terroristic threatening, according to Lt. Martin Cass, public information officer for the Jacksonville Police Department.

Butler pleaded not guilty to all charges Tuesday morning and is being held without bond during the court appearance before Judge Tjuana Byrd.

Butler is accused of shooting three black men in the parking lot at America’s Best Value Inn and Suites on John Harden Drive in Jacksonville in September.

Butler is believed to have been carrying a .45-caliber handgun after the shooting incident. He had been seen driving a blue 1984 Chevrolet Caprice.

Two of the victims, Daryl Wiggins, 23, of North Little Rock and Brian Washington, 18, of Jacksonville had been seriously injured, according to Cass.

Washington was flown by Med Flight to UAMS, where he died, Cass said.

“The other (Wiggins) was transported by Jacksonville Fire Department ambulance to Rebsamen Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.”

The third victim, Michael Jenkins, 22, was transported to St. Vincent Hospital North in Sherwood, where he was treated and released for a gunshot wound to a foot.

Wiggins and Washington died from injuries to the head and chest area, according the Cass.

Wiggins and Washington had gone to the motel, along with Jenkins, after Jenkins got a call from a woman asking him to meet her there.

Just before the shooting, the three men were in Wiggins’ car at the motel.

Wiggins was talking to a woman who had approached the driver’s side door.

Butler drove by, got out and challenged the men about how they had looked at him, police said.

He then went in his motel room, came out with a handgun and fired shots through the windshield, according to Cass.
Butler then fled in the Caprice. He had been missing until he turned himself in Monday.

Gary Patel, general manager at the motel, said Butler had been a guest for about four weeks in room 133.

“He appeared to be a regular guest, not a problem,” Patel said. “He would pay his bill on time.”

Patel said the shooting occurred in the back parking lot of the motel and that the victims had not been staying at the motel.

“I don’t know who they were and we do make it a practice to check everyone’s identification before renting to them,” Patel said.

At the Lonoke County Sheriff’s office the jailer said he didn’t know if Butler actually had outstanding fines or paid them while at the sheriff’s office.

He said he didn’t know if Butler was a county resident either.

Butler will appear in court again at 1:30 p.m. today before Special Judge Robert Bamburg on a bond and review hearing.

Since Butler faces felony charges, his case will be reviewed by the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and be set for trial in circuit court, according to a Jacksonville district court clerk.