Conflicting Witness Testimony in Day Three of Butler Trial - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Conflicting Witness Testimony as Butler Murder Trial Finishes Day Three

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It's the first day of witness testimony in the case of a man on trial for second-degree murder.

60-year-old Port St. Joe resident Walt Butler is accused of shooting and killing a 32-year-old Everett Gant after witnesses say the younger man went to confront him at his home.

It's a game of he said she said on day three of the trial over a half of dozen witnesses testify and many have conflicting statements. Robert Lynn and Ken Dunham each have their own side of the story when it comes to who opened the door the night Gant was shot.

"You didn't open the door did you?" asked Assistant State Attorney Robert Sombathy of Robert Lynn.

"No." said Lynn.

Dunham claims he was with Gant the night Butler fired his .22 caliber rifle at Gant and it was Lynn who opened the door.

"He unlocked it first? asked Defense Attorney Mark Sims.

"Yes," said Dunham.

But although Lynn admits the two had been drinking for much of that day he denies sliding open the glass door.  

"Did you ever see Ken Dunham, the man you said was staying with Steve Willy next door, did you ever see him outside behind the black guy?" asked Sombathy of Lynn.

"No sir," answered Lynn. "He wasn't there. There was nobody, but that black guy."

It didn't take long, though, for Sims to discredit both witnesses on the stand.

"Matter fact you actually have two convictions of crimes of dishonesty don't you?" asked Sims of Dunham.

"Yes sir," he answered.  

"You've even admitted to drinking when you came and gave us a deposition didn't you?" asked Sims of Lynn. 

"Yes sir," he answered.

"Have you had anything to drink today?, asked Sims.

"Yes sir," answered Lynn. "About two beers."

And an emotional Gant family looked on as former Gulf County Sheriff Joe Nugent took the stand for the state. Nugent testified when he went in to retrieve Butler from the home he was eating dinner and was unconcerned about the events that transpired.

"He said he needed to finish his supper," said Nugent. "He didn't know why I needed to go with him that he just shot a [expletive]."

The medical examiner is expected to take the stand for the state's attorneys office when witness testimony resumes Thursday morning.

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