By Mike Perlstein | WWL-TV | July 9, 2022
NEW ORLEANS — It was broad daylight on Feb. 12 when police say April Butler, 36, shot a woman in both hips in an auto parts store parking lot, narrowly missing a 7-year-old boy. Butler was quickly arrested, and is now awaiting trial for attempted murder.
Criminal Court Judge Rhonda Goode-Douglas set bail at $110,000, which Butler covered through a commercial bail bond. The judge also ordered home confinement with electronic monitoring through an ankle bracelet, but that didn’t go so well.
According to a police report, Butler was away from her home on April 25 when she pulled a gun and threatened a witness to the earlier attempted murder. Butler was arrested again, this time booked with aggravated assault and witness intimidation.
Butler again appeared before Goode-Douglas. And again, she allowed Butler to be released, this time setting bail at just a fraction of the original bail amount: $10,000.
Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission was critical of the monitoring company, A2I of Bogalusa. The owner of A2I, Van Hopkins, did not return calls for comment.
But Goyeneche was even more critical of Goode-Douglas.
“I think the judge owes an explanation to the public as to what she did and why she did it,” he said. “To set a $10,000 dollar bond is unfathomable.”
WWL-TV reached out to the judge for comment, but got no response.
Prosecutors filed a motion to revoke Butler’s bail or add restrictions, writing, “Given the fact that the defendant has intimidated witnesses, been re-arrested while on an ankle monitor on an attempted murder case committed in front of a seven-year-old child…the State respectfully asks the court find the defendant not bailable, or in the alternative, increase the bail.”
Goode-Douglas denied the motion.
“This really undermines the entire criminal justice system and public safety and, in part, is fueling the violent crime wave we’ve been experiencing,” Goyeneche said.
Both cases are going forward. But the shooting victim, out of fear, has moved out of state.
Butler is represented by defense attorney Gregory Carter. He said his client is innocent of all the charges.
“We spoke to all the witnesses,” Carter said, “and we believe we are on the right side.”