Submitted by Howard B. Owens on June 3, 2014 - 6:49am
Batavia resident Dashawn Butler, suspected of discharging a firearm on State Street in September, was jailed Monday in lieu of $25,000 cash bail after being arraigned on a three-count Grand Jury indictment.
Butler entered a not guilty plea to counts of criminal use of a firearm, 2nd, a Class C violent felony, criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, a Class C violent felony, and attempted assault, 1st, also a Class C violent felony.
District Attorney Lawrence Friedman declined to discuss much about the case after Butler's appearance in County Court, citing concerns that pre-trial publicity could make it more difficult to select a jury, but he acknowledged that a rap video featuring Butler could possibly be used in future court proceedings.
The video is attributed to Mobb Bugatti and was produced by Rochester-based Triple R Muzik Group. The video, along with another one Butler is featured in called "Rollin'," and widespread Web marketing and publicity on social network and music sites indicate the aspiring rapper and TRMG are pursuing a music career for Butler.
The video could be taken in that context, or be seen as something more sinister.
During "Red Flags" Butler is seen waving a red bandana and rapping about "murder death kill kill" and disrespecting (using a different word) the law.
The professionally produced video appears to have been shot on State Street, Hutchins Place and Lewis Place. One scene shows a Batavia police car cruising down a street.
If Butler and his defense attorney Thomas Burns decide to make the people prove Butler's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the video could become relevant if Friedman decides to portray Butler as gang affiliated and that the shots-fired incident Sept. 27 on State Street was tied to possible gang activity.
Friedman declined to answer a question along those lines.
Asked if the video might tell us something about Butler that might be relevant to the case, Friedman said, "some people might feel that way."
There was some wrangling in court Monday over Butler's bail status.
Butler has been out of jail since a couple of days after his arrest in December because Friedman wasn't ready at the time to conduct a felony hearing in City Court.
Friedman argued Monday that Butler is facing three C violent felonies, has a prior felony conviction that could make him a second felony offender for sentencing purposes, and has a prior instance of failure to appear.
Burns countered that Butler has made his court appearances on time in this case, the prior failure to appear was many years ago in New York City and Burns doesn't believe Butler will qualify as a second felony offender.
There's also a speedy trial issue to look at in the case, Burns said. An arrest warrant was issued for Butler in October, but he wasn't arrested until December and only just now indicted.
Friedman said it took two months for Batavia PD to locate Butler. When he was arrested it was in the house of a person parole officers were looking for and Butler was hiding in a bathroom. Those circumstances negate the speedy trial issue, Friedman indicated.
Burns said Butler has lived in Batavia since 2001, moving here from NYC. He currently has a part-time job with a local food service business. He asked that if Noonan were going to set bail that it be something reasonable like $4,500.
Noonan set bail at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond, which was the bail amount set in City Court when Butler was arrested in December.
The attorneys will spend the next 45 days preparing motions in the case and Butler is due in court again at 9:30 a.m., Aug. 4.
Warning: The video below contains profanity. This clip is edited to show just a representative portion of the video.