Man convicted, gets 20 years for 2020 killing in Natchez

Published 2:19 pm Sunday, June 16, 2024

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Natchez attorney Zach Jex did not represent Reginald Butler at his trial this month. Butler was represented by Christopher Green at his trial. Jex represented Butler for a dismissal motion in January.

NATCHEZ — Reginald Butler, 28, was convicted of manslaughter by an Adams County jury on Wednesday evening after deliberating approximately 90 minutes.

Sixth District Circuit Judge Debra Blackwell sentenced Butler to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Reginald Butler

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Butler was arrested after the Dec. 17, 2020, shooting death of Braylon James, 22, who was killed in the vicinity of Minor Street and Brenham Avenue. Fourth District Assistant District Attorney Stanley Alexander prosecuted Butler after then-Sixth Circuit District Attorney Shameca Collins transferred the case because of a conflict with a key member of her staff.

In January of this year, his attorney, Zach Jex of Natchez, filed a motion to dismiss the murder charge against Butler because of lack of a speedy trial. Short of a dismissal of the murder charge, Jex asked that a probable cause hearing be held to determine if Butler should stand trial for James’ murder. Jex said four eyewitnesses testified in municipal court that Butler was acting in self-defense when he shot James, who first turned a gun on him.

Blackwell, also the judge for that dismissal motion in January, denied the request.

Butler was out on bond on the murder charge on April 17, 2022, when he was arrested by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Operations Group and charged with two drive-by shootings on Red Bud Lane in Natchez.

Butler has been in custody since the drive-by shooting arrest. Those charges are still pending.