After hearing impassioned statements from family members of an 18-year-old murder victim, a judge in Richmond this afternoon sentenced an Antioch man convicted of killing him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Twenty-year-old Kayl McCutchen was convicted last year of first-degree murder and robbery in the September 2009 slaying of 18-year-old Antioch resident Matthew Butler.
The prosecution said McCutchen, then 17, fired seven shots into Butler’s body the night of June 28, 2009, after a plan to rob him went awry. Police have said that Butler, a college student, was known to sell marijuana, leading McCutchen and his accomplice, then-20-year-old Charles Hughes of Antioch and Oakland, to target him as he sat in his car near Williamson Ranch Park in Antioch. Butler died from his injuries at a hospital late that night after police found him in his parked car in the 5000 block of Lone Tree Way.
“The acts display a high degree of callousness, the killing appeared to be planned…he poses a continuing danger to society,” said Judge Theresa Canepa before announcing McCutcheon’s sentence in a Richmond courtroom today. Moments earlier, a handful of the victim’s family members sat in the witness stand to address the judge and McCutcheon about the loss of their son, stepson and brother. Sitting in the courtroom were several more of Butler’s family members, as well as McCutcheon’s parents. Butler’s parents and brother described him as a vivacious young man who was excited about life, who loved skateboarding, snowboarding and music and who awoke at 3:30 a.m. to head to his job at Starbucks.
“Kayl, because you do not know Matthew, you’ll never know how many lives he touched,” the victim’s mother, Eileen Blumhardt-Butler said from the witness stand, addressing McCutcheon, who was wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit. “You have devastated my world and so many around you.” The victim’s father, Antioch resident Wayne Butler, said he and the rest of his family are constantly reminded of the murder, since they live just two blocks from the scene of the crime. “I can still see Matthew laying on the street getting CPR,” he said.
“There’s a void in the house now and we can’t go very far outside without noticing the things that surround that night,” he said. Each of the family members who spoke today noted a lack of emotion or remorse in McCutchen’s demeanor when he testified during the roughly month-long trial last year. After a bailiff handcuffed the 20-year-old and led him out of the courtroom, Canepa thanked Butler and McCutchen’s family members for their conduct over more than two years of emotion-filled legal proceedings. Hughes is scheduled to be sentenced for his role in the murder next week, Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox said today.
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