"Why Did Johnny Lee Butts Die?" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS


Why Did Johnny Lee Butts Die?

Johnny Lee Butts went out for his regular morning walk on July 22, 2012 and never came home. That morning, a car struck and killed Butts; later police arrested a couple of teenagers for the crime.

In a recent report, http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/17/us/mississippi-hit-and-run/index.html">CNN shed new light on what happened that morning . According to statements by two of the passengers-- a teenager and a man named Tony Hopper Jr.-- the passengers and unnamed driver of the car spotted a man walking. Here's an exchange from the grand jury indictment, according to CNN:

We see a walker on the side of the road. The complete left side of the road while we are on the complete right side of the road," the unidentified teen told a police lieutenant. "And I pointed out to say, 'watch out there is a walker there...'" The unnamed teen continued his story: "Whit slightly turns the steering wheel and I saw him. 'Watch out, don't do nothing stupid' and then he just keep turning the steering wheel and eventually before we knew it he ran him straight over." "He didn't slow down," Hopper said in a statement to a deputy sheriff. The deputy asked: "He never hit his brakes?" Hopper replied: "No sir." "Do you think he hit him on purpose?" asked the deputy. "Yes, sir, I do," said Hopper.

The driver is white; Butts was African American. However, the Panola County District Attorney John Champion (he is also the DA for DeSoto County) opted to not seek hate crime charges in the case.

Donny Butts, the victims brother wants to know why. He told CNN "That's the only reason they ran him over because he was black. Point blank."

The Butts family is considering filing a wrongful death suit, which may be the only way for the full truth to come out.


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