DA Steps Back
From Case In
Light Of Her
BY JOHN M. JONES JR.
Kaylen L. Butcher, 19, the young woman indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury in connection with the armed robbery of the Stop & Go market at Chuckey on June 28, faces federal charges that could potentially put her in prison for life.
But, after Monday, she is no longer facing state-level charges -- at least not for the foreseeable future.
Butcher was arraigned Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis H. Inman. She was presented with the very serious charges against her, and, through her court-appointed attorney, pleaded not guilty.
In light of those serious charges, the Office of Third Judicial District Attorney General Berkeley Bell told General Sessions Judge Kenneth Bailey Jr. on Monday afternoon that the state did not wish to pursue its separate charges against her.
At least not for now.
Assistant District Attorney General Richie Collins told Judge Bailey in court Monday that the state had decided to request a ruling of nolle prosequi on its charge of aggravated robbery against Butcher.
The term means that the attorney general's office does not wish to prosecute Butcher at this time even though she has been charged with aggravated armed robbery, a state-level crime.
WHY DECISION WAS MADE
Collins emphasized in an interview during a court recess that the decision not to proceed with the prosecution on that charge was definitely not a matter of showing leniency to Butcher.
He said that the decision to nolle the prosecution had been made because the federal charges she faces are much more serious than the state charges, and carry a more severe penalty if she is convicted.
If, however, the federal prosecution of Butcher should fall through for some reason, he added, the attorney general could renew the state's own prosecution of Butcher on the aggravated robbery charge.
NOW A FEDERAL PRISONER
Now and for the foreseeable future, Butcher is strictly a federal prisoner awaiting trial in U.S. District Court.
The case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Leon Jordan since District Judge J. Ronnie Greer has recused himself.
Butcher continues to be held in the Greene County Detention Center, but as a federal prisoner there rather than as a state prisoner.
Federal authorities were not even wiling for her to be brought to General Sessions Court on Monday, Collins noted.
A pre-trial hearing on the federal charges has been scheduled for Sept. 11 before Judge Inman. No trial date has been set.
She will be tried together with Larry Shane Morgan, 36, who was indicted by the same federal grand jury in connection with both the armed robbery of the convenience market and a later armed robbery of a local branch of Greeneville Federal Bank on July 2.
Morgan is also being held in the Detention Center as a federal prisoner.
No bond has been set for either Morgan or Butcher, and they have so far waived detention hearings: a court proceeding designed to determine whether bond should be set for a prisoner.