By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN denied suggestions during his interview with police that he had physically attacked his mother and choked her to death because of an argument over money he had spent on his girlfriend, according to a video the jury saw yesterday.
Sergeant 527 Basil Evans told a Supreme Court jury on Friday that he had questioned 57-year-old Jerome Butler at the Central Detective Unit on February 12, 2015 concerning his alleged involvement in Princess Butler’s murder.
The homicide detective said that he conducted the interview with Corporal Keith Martin in the presence of Butler’s then lawyer Nathan Smith.
Butler is on trial before Justice Indra Charles accused of intentionally and unlawfully causing the death of his 81-year-old mother.
The victim was found dead in her home at Petersfield Road in Highbury Park shortly after 8am on February 4, 2015.
An autopsy revealed that she died of asphyxia and as a result of finding facial bruises and internal injuries about her body, police launched an investigation.
Her son was arraigned in Magistrate’s Court 12 days later in connection with the death.
He pleaded not guilty to murder when formally arraigned in the Supreme Court three months later.
Butler has retained attorneys Ian Cargill and David Cash to defend him against the allegation.
Uel Johnson and Alicia Delancy are prosecuting the case for the Crown.
In yesterday’s continuation of Sgt Evans’ testimony, the jury was shown a video of the record of interview where Butler was cautioned in the presence of Mr Smith concerning the killing.
“Is Princess Butler your mother?” Sgt Evans had asked the suspect.
“Yes she is,” Butler answered.
“It is my information you and her are the sole occupants of the house, what do you say to that?” the detective asked.
“That’s correct,” Butler answered.
“It is my information that around 7.30pm on February 3, your sister (Dr) Faith Butler-Cleare brought your mother home from church. What do you have to say to that?” the officer asked.
“I don’t know the exact time she brought her home from church, I was in my room so that could’ve been the time,” Butler answered.
“It is my information that your sister left the residence around 8pm,” Sgt Evans suggested.
“I don’t know when my sister left the residence,” the accused said.
“Did you see your mother at anytime that night?” the detective asked.
“I saw her 11.30 that night,” Butler said.
“Where was she?” the officer further probed.
“She was in the computer room,” Butler answered.
“Was your sister in the residence?” Sgt Evans asked.
“I didn’t see her, I don’t think so,” Butler replied.
The detective said: “It is my information that you and your mother had an argument about you spending money on your girlfriend. What do you say to that?”
“There was no argument,” the suspect said.
“It is my information that during this argument you attacked your mother physically,” the detective further suggested.
“I never attacked my mother,” Butler answered.
“It is my information that you punched her in the face, beat her about the body and choked her,” Sgt Evans then said.
The suspect said he “didn’t know anything about that.”
“I have information that around 7am the next day you telephoned your sister to tell her your mother was dead,” the detective said. “Yes,” Butler replied.
“Where was your mother’s body at the time?” the officer then asked. The suspect said it was in her bedroom.
“Did you call an ambulance?” the investigator asked.
“My sister called an ambulance,” Butler answered.
“That would’ve been how long after you called her?” the investigator asked.
Butler said around 15-20 minutes.
Sgt Evans then suggested that it was more than an hour and Butler said he could not recall the time.
“During the night did anyone else enter the home?” the detective asked.
“Not to my knowledge,” Butler said.
He was asked if his mother suffered from any illnesses and he said “not to my knowledge.”
“When you last saw your mother did she have any bruises or black eye?” the detective asked. The accused told Sgt Evans that she did not.
“She appeared to be in good health?” the investigator asked. Butler said yes.
He was asked if he made any report of a home invasion to police and he said no.
Butler was asked if he could explain how his mother received a black eye, injuries to her neck and internal organs. He said he could not.
“It is my information that you beat your mother to death causing these injuries,” the investigator suggested. Butler denied the allegation.
“Can you say why you took photos of your mother dead before alerting anyone that she’d even died?” Sgt Evans asked.
“To show how I met the body just like that,” the suspect answered.
“Wouldn’t it be more rational to let someone know first?” the detective asked.
“Perhaps,” the suspect said.
He was asked how many photographs he took and he answered that he could not recall. He also said he could not recall making a video.
“I also have information that you were verbally abusive to your mother,” the investigator said.
“That’s not so,” Butler answered.
“How was your relationship between you and your mother?” the officer asked.
“We had a good relationship,” the suspect answered.
Sgt Evans asked if Butler wished to read over the written record and sign. Butler said yes and did so.
The case resumes today.