Modified: July 23, 2015 9:38am
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 18 year-old Shakeena Butler pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree in connection with her refusal to testify against her boyfriend, convicted murderer Damone Lewis. This is the highest charge Butler could have been convicted of had she gone to trial. In other words, the defendant was not offered a so-called “plea bargain” and was instead prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Butler initially told Buffalo Police Homicide detectives that Lewis admitted to her that he had killed Jeremy Thomas. When called to testify at trial, however, Butler repeatedly, contumaciously and willfully refused to answer questions posed to her by Homicide Prosecutor Gary Hackbush. Despite, Butler’s efforts to derail the prosecution of her beloved, Lewis was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years- to-life behind bars. Lewis -- no stranger to the criminal justice system and a complete menace to society -- received an additional 10 years in state prison after being subsequently convicted of shooting and paralyzing a 15 year-old girl.
Butler faces up to 1 year in the Erie County Correctional Facility when she is sentenced by Acting Supreme Court Justice Russell Buscaglia on July 23, 2015.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Danielle N. Soluri, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.