Charges held over on alleged gunman
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.