ERIE, Pa. - An Erie woman has pleaded guilty to fatally crushing her boyfriend in March by sitting on him during a violent attack.
Windi C. Thomas, 44, pleaded guilty Monday to third-degree murder in the March 18 death of Keeno Butler, the Erie Times-News reported. Thomas faces between 18 and 36 years in prison at her Dec. 21 sentencing.
In exchange for Thomas’ plea, prosecutors dropped charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and possession of an instrument of a crime, according to the Times-News.
“It’s a good result based upon the facts of the case,” Thomas’ lawyer, Mark Del Duca, told the newspaper. “I think it’s fair for both sides.”
"It was very, very hard to keep quiet. It was an awful killing." -- Keeno Butler's sister, Sandra Jean Butler, commenting after Windi Thomas' preliminary hearing. pic.twitter.com/5hTwiGfKfn— Jackie Roberts (@JackieRoberts22) June 6, 2018
An Erie police detective testified at Thomas’ June preliminary hearing that officers arrived at the couple’s home after Thomas called 911 and told a dispatcher she had killed her boyfriend, the Times-News reported. Detective Sgt. Chris Janus told the court that the first officer on the scene found Butler lying on the living room floor and a blood-covered Thomas sitting on the sofa.
“I killed him,” Janus quoted Thomas telling the officer.
Thomas told detectives she had been drinking that day and, at one point, left to buy crack cocaine, the newspaper reported in June. She told them she returned home and, during a confrontation, began stabbing Butler in the hand with a folding knife.
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She also beat him in the head with a table leg, Janus testified. The probable cause affidavit in Thomas’ case stated that the leg had two bolts extending from it.
The bloody table leg was found behind the sofa, the affidavit said.
Thomas also admitted that she pinned Butler down by kneeling on him and resting her body weight on his chest, the Times-News reported. According to the affidavit, Thomas weighed 300 pounds to Butler’s 120 pounds.
Butler’s autopsy listed his cause of death as “respiratory insufficiency secondary to blunt force trauma to the neck and thoracic compression, exacerbated by blunt force trauma to the head,” the newspaper said.
Butler, nicknamed “Loco,” is survived by his mother, a daughter, two granddaughters and nine siblings, according to his obituary.
“Keeno will be remembered as a person who was full of love, energy and had a smile that would light up a room,” the obituary said. “He enjoyed pets, music, dancing and working. The greatest part of Keeno’s life was when he was with his family, especially his daughter and grandchildren. He was loved by many.”
Butler’s sister, Sandra Jean Butler, remembered her brother at an April vigil at the site of his murder as being more like her own child than her sibling. She said he was just three years older than her oldest child, so he grew up alongside her children.
“If you knew him, you would love him,” Sandra Butler said. “Sometimes, he was like a pest, but that was OK. I miss that pest now.”
Butler told the Times-News after Monday’s plea hearing that she thought Thomas deserved a life sentence for killing her brother. She told the newspaper that her family struggles to accept his death.
“My mother, she calls for him every night,” Butler said.
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