Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Sunday, 23 November 2014
Login |  Register 
 
Find Products or Services in your local community
 
KSCB Radio News US National Business Health & Science Political World Sports Top NPR Headlines Sports National Headlines
Stanton County Principal Found Guilty of Arson
06/19/2010

A school principal was mentally ill when he entered his estranged wife’s home in Olathe, took purses and burned her car — but how mentally ill?

Johnson County jurors decided on Friday that his actions did not meet the extreme threshold for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Jurors found Craig Butler, 36, guilty of arson and criminal damage to property for the crimes on Aug. 24 and Aug. 25, 2008. They found him not guilty on a charge of aggravated burglary.

To be found not guilty and sent to state mental care, Butler had to be so mentally ill at the time that he could not have intended to commit the crimes.

In closing arguments, assistant prosecutor Michael McElhinney said, “All three doctors agree he had the intent ...”

Defense lawyer Paul Morrison countered that the doctors also agreed “He was so psychotic at the time he committed this crime he didn’t know up from down.”

Butler was hallucinating and hearing voices from the “Chronicles of Narnia” characters when he entered the home while his wife, Tracy Butler, and another woman were there, the defense contended.

At the time, the former science teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District was an assistant principal at Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, Kan.

He had started experiencing psychotic symptoms, witnesses said, and Butler testified that he got an anti-depressant medication from a co-worker and took it. The medication was the wrong drug for his condition and sent him into mania, the defense contended.

He entered the house in the 600 block of South Grant, did about $1,000 damage to furniture, dishes and electronics, took some purses and then burned the car and his legs.

He dumped the purses alongside a road in Lawrence and later he and a lawyer mailed them back to the owners.

He resigned from his assistant principal job in September 2008, got treatment and took a job in August 2009 as principal of Stanton County High School in western Kansas. An attorney for the school district there has said they were not aware of the criminal charges when they hired him. He was suspended from that job in April pending the outcome of the trial, and he is now divorced.

Morrison asked mercy for his client.

“This is about a man’s life. This is about whether you decide to stamp him as a burglar, stamp him as an arsonist,” he said.

McElhinney countered, “He’s already branded himself,” and he asked jurors to hold Butler responsible for his actions.

© Copyright By JOE LAMBE and DAWN BORMANN-The Kansas City Star
You will need to be logged in to leave a comment.
Please Login

characters left

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our Terms of Use.



MOST VIEWED STORIES
Sheriff's Deputy Finds Dead Body:UPDATE
Gas Explosion Injures Two: UPDATE
Turpin Natives Share their Story on Today Show Friday
Dairy Process Plant Coming To Western Kansas
Judge Bars Garden City In Church Dispute
Retirement Reception Honoring Greg Sillin
One Lane Bridge On Highway 50
Seward County Democratic Party To Elect Officers
Scenic Roots Heads To Liberal
Voter ID Fight Comes Back To Kansas Court
Click Here For All Stories

LATEST STORIES
Rebounding Issues Sink Seward at South Plains
Seward Rallies Past Coffeyville
Gas Explosion Injures Two: UPDATE
Art Glass of John McDonald Blown Glass Exhibit
Sheriff's Deputy Finds Dead Body:UPDATE
Turpin Natives Share their Story on Today Show Friday
Two Wins at Home for Aggie Basketball
Holiday Brunch At SCCC/ATS
Scenic Roots Heads To Liberal
Seward County Democratic Party To Elect Officers
Click Here For All Stories
Click Here for KSCB Talk Radio 1270 am
Click Here for B107.5
Click Here for The Legend 102.7
click Here for ozzBlog
Click Here for the Emergency Alert Hanbook

©2014 Seward County Broadcasting Company, Inc.
1410 N. Western Ave. Liberal, KS 67901

Emergency Alert System | EEO Public Report Form | The Public and Broadcasting

Powered by Radio Media Group