A Turner man was found guilty of a 2019 Sweet Home murder in Linn County Circuit Court on Monday.
Page Lee Butterfield, 27, was found guilty of the murder of Corey Burdick, 43, as well as second-degree assault in the shooting of Ervin Smith, 67, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Butterfield’s attorneys argued he fired a Glock pistol at the men in self-defense, but Judge Thomas McHill found the defense lacked merit. An autopsy showed Burdick was shot in the back of the head at close range.
Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, and Butterfield faces a potential life sentence. Butterfield waived his right to a jury trial, so McHill decided the verdict and will hand down the sentence.
Butterfield was found not guilty of attempted murder and unauthorized use of a vehicle. McHill said the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Butterfield intended to kill Smith when he shot him. McHill also said the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Butterfield knew he was not authorized to drive the vehicle he used to leave the scene, as he had previously been allowed to drive the vehicle.
Linn County Deputy District Attorney Coleen Cerda, the prosecuting attorney, declined to comment until after the sentencing. Butterfield’s court-appointed defense attorney, John Rich, did not respond to requests for comment Monday before publishing.
The charges stemmed from a May 24, 2019, incident in Sweet Home following an argument and fight over inappropriate text messages that Butterfield sent to the victim’s girlfriend, according to a probable cause affidavit in the case.
A witness told police that Butterfield and Burdick entered Smith’s travel trailer in the 500 block of Surrey Lane to discuss the issue. Smith came out of his bedroom while the two were arguing, the witness told officers, according to court paperwork.
As the argument became heated, the witness became scared and backed away from the confrontation, the affidavit states. She heard the first gunshot, turned to see Butterfield holding what appeared to be a gun and hid in a bedroom, then heard two more shots, according to the affidavit.
Burdick was shot in the back of the head at close range. An autopsy revealed that the barrel of the gun was within inches of Burdick, according to the affidavit.
Smith, while recovering at an area hospital, reportedly told investigators he was shot in the back by Butterfield after Burdick was killed. Smith was found by authorities outside his trailer with a wound to his torso.
The witness told police that the suspect left in a red vehicle.
The Albany Police Department took a stolen vehicle report about a 2008 Ford Edge being taken by Butterfield just hours before the shooting, according to court paperwork.
Butterfield was arrested in the Sisters area on May 26, 2019, after reportedly fleeing from Oregon State Police troopers who spotted him.
K. Rambo can be contacted at 541-812-6091 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter via @k_rambo_.