Charges held over on al­leged gun­man

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

A Glen­side man al­legedly re­spon­si­ble for shootin­gand­killinga­man­inNorthHill­swas hel­doveron­charges­for­first­de­greemur­derat a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing held in front of Dis­trict Judge Juanita Price July 31.

The court­room was packed with fam­ily mem­bers of Wil­liam But­ler, 27, of Franklin Av­enue, Abing­ton, the man who was al­legedly shot July 17 by 21-year-oldAn­dre Dula of the 800 block of North Hills Av­enue in North Hills. Dula’s fam­ily was also present.

“We ex­press our deep­est sym­pa­thies for the fam­ily,” Sharon El, a Dula fam­ily friend said prior to the hear­ing. “We did not raise a child to com­mit such a vi­o­lent act. There are no words to de­scribe the pain.”

“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep … I’ve been a mess” added Robert Dula, An­dre Dula’s fa­ther.

The hear­ing be­gan with Mont­gomery County As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney John Walko call­ing two wit­nesses to the stand. The first was Wil­liam But­ler’s brother, Kevin But­ler, who said he was present the night of the shoot­ing at the North Hills train sta­tion.

Kevin said that he drove with Wil­liam and a mu­tual friend to the train sta­tion, where they were look­ing for Dula. He said that once they saw him, But­ler got out the ve­hi­cle be­fore it came to a com­plete stop and al­legedly threw a bot­tle at Dula and then threw a punch. Kevin said he then sawAn­dre Dula reach for his hip.

“It looked like he was reach­ing for a gun,” he said.

Kevin said his brother ran up a nearby hill and as he ran, he saw Dula run af­ter him with his arm ex­tended. He then said he heard three con­sec­u­tive gun­shots fired and then saw Dula run away.

De­fense At­tor­ney John McMa­hon Jr., cross-ex­am­ined Kevin ask­ing him where he was be­fore the in­ci­dent oc­curred. He re­sponded that he was at his sis­ter’s house with his brother and their friend. McMa­hon asked him if they were plan­ning to lo­cate Dula. To which Kevin But­ler replied “Yes.”

Walko called Shapelle Wash­ing­ton-Freer, a friend of But­ler, to the stand.

Freer said that she was in a ve­hi­cle that was lo­cated at the top of the hill, where Wil­liam But­ler was al­legedly shot. She said that she saw An­dre point some­thing at him.

“Iclosed­myeyes­be­causeIwass­cared,” Freer said. “I heard three gun­shots.”

Walko sub­mit­ted the au­topsy re­port from Abing­ton Memo­rial Hospi­tal, which said that Wil­liam died of a gun­shot wound to the back, in ad­di­tion to a doc­u­ment that said that Dula was not li­censed to carry a gun as ev­i­dence.

Walko ar­gued for first-de­gree murder charges as Dula in­tended to kill Wil­liam when he ran af­ter him at gun­point.

McMa­hon asked Price to drop the first­de­gree murder charge to a third-de­gree charge. He said that ev­i­dence pro­vides that Dula was try­ing to de­fend him­self.

Dula was held over on charges for first­de­gree murder.

His ar­raign­ment date is set for Sept. 24 at the Court of Com­mon Pleas in Nor­ris­town.

“We are in­tend­ing to fight the case at trail. I am dis­ap­pointed the first-de­gree murder charges were not dropped,” McMa­hon said fol­low­ing the hear­ing. “He was act­ing in self-de­fense and [we will] put on a self-de­fense case at trial.”

“At the end of the day [An­dre Dula] bought a gun to a fist fight [that] the vic­tim was not pre­pared for,” Walko said.

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