FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 28 -- A new trial is expected for a youth who fatally shot his allegedly abusive father, after a judge declared a mistrial when the jury could not decide punishment in the case. Family and friends sought probation for Lance Butterfield, saying he was pushed to the breaking point by a dominant father.
But jurors tell the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today a lone holdout juror would not budge from a demand for 99 years to life for Butterfield. Presiding Judge Bob Gill says a new trial is likely for the teen, who shot his father in the back and head as he left a shower in a bath robe two days after Christmas in 1995. The 19-year-old Butterfield pleaded guilty to murdering Bill Butterfield, but defense attorneys said the father drove his son to parricide after years of mental and physical abuse against him and the rest of the family. Prosecutors alleged the son coldly calculated his father's killing, firing the first shot into Butterfield's back, then finishing him with a bullet in the head as Bill Butterfield pleaded for his life. Prosecutor Mitch Poe told jurors a sentence of probation would send the wrong message to society. During 15 hours of jury deliberations, bitter shouts could be heard coming from the jury room, and a juror said that at one point jurors almost came to blows. ---
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