MEDIA -- Chester resident Arnold Butcher -- charged with the December 1989 shooting death of Engineering freshman Tyrone Robertson -- was found guilty of first degree murder by a Delaware County judge Friday afternoon. Butcher now faces a minimum of life imprisonment with possible parole in 15 years. The formal sentencing is scheduled for early next month. Defense attorney Spiros Angelos said he will appeal the decision. The ruling concludes the "degree of guilt" hearing in which Judge Antonio Semeraro was to determine whether Butcher was guilty of first or third degree murder. Butcher pled guilty to an unspecified charge of shooting Robertson in the right buttock last month. Butcher shot the Engineering freshman outside a seafood restaurant in Chester when Robertson and his brother Paul became involved in a fight with Butcher and two other Chester men. The defense concluded its side of the hearing with short testimony from Narcotics Unit Captain Commodore Harris who said Butcher willingly turned himself into the authorities. In his half-hour-long closing argument, defense attorney Angelos compared the incident to Romeo and Juliet, calling the shooting a result of too much "pride." Angelos also argued that by admitting his guilt, Butcher had spared the family the pain of a full trial. A first-degree murder conviction rests upon a "specific intent to kill," and throughout his argument, Angelos has countered that the prosecution failed to prove that Butcher shot Robertson with the specific intent to kill him. Angelos said Butcher aimed down and fired the fatal shot at Robertson only to scare him away from harming the man with whom he was fighting. Angelos added that several witnesses who testified during the trial indicated that Butcher was drunk and did not have the ability to commit premeditated murder. He added that Butcher panicked, didn't aim the gun, and fired just one shot at Robertson. Angelos concluded his final arguments by referring to several precedents in which the courts have convicted defendants of third degree murder under similar circumstances. Assistant District Attorney Jay Mattera, who prosecuted the case, agreed with Angelos in his closing argument that "we can't say what went on in Butcher's mind" in the moments leading up to the shooting. But he added that the .44 caliber pistol which Butcher used showed he intended to kill Robertson. During Mattera's closing argument, Ada Robertson -- the Tyrone Robertson's mother -- wept as her husband tried to comfort her. A court medical officer helped Robertson up and took her to a hospital, according to Mattera. Mattera said after the ruling that he was pleased with the verdict. "I am very satisfied [with the verdict]," Mattera said. "I assume the family is much relieved." Dwight Townsend and Michael Shaw, the two Chester residents who were also involved in the December 1989 incident, were convicted of involuntary manslaughter last month and will be sentenced along with Butcher next month.Comments powered by Disqus
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