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Guilty plea in RVing couple’s homicide

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The RV community was shocked and saddened by the 2019 deaths of James and Michelle Butler. You may recall they were first reported missing in October that year. Four days later, police found the RVing couple’s homicide resting place on Texas’ South Padre Island. The story has seemingly dragged on since that time. Finally, a guilty plea has been made in the RVing couple’s homicide.

After relatives reported James and Michelle missing, security camera footage revealed the Butlers’ Chevy Silverado towing their trailer through a U.S./Mexico border crossing. The driver was a man, and clearly not James Butler. The date of the footage indicated the crossing was made into Mexico on October 21. That was two days before the missing couple’s remains were found.

Arrests made

A few weeks later, in early November 2019, reports surfaced that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the case. In a combined Mexico/U.S. operation, police arrested Adam Curtis Williams, a Utah resident, in Jalisco, Mexico. Also picked up, another Utah resident, Amanda Noverr. The pair was taken back to Texas, there booked into separate facilities.

Then seemingly slow action

Legal action on the RVing couple’s homicide was a painfully slow process. It wasn’t until late in January 2020 that a Kleberg County, Texas, grand jury handed down indictments.  Even then, the charges against Williams and Noverr weren’t related to murder. The charges were theft of the pickup, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, and tampering with physical evidence. Because they were aware a murder had taken place, the final charge was added. That, when they “intentionally and knowingly” buried the bodies of the Butlers. Their purpose: to impair the investigation.

Why the seemingly “simple” charges? Prior to the grand jury’s work, the prosecutor knew if there wasn’t some some sort of indictment, Williams and Noverr could be released on “reasonable bond.” But the prosecutors felt they had a solid case. They didn’t want either of the defendants walking away from a cell. At the time, the press was told the state felt it was ready for trial, and that both would stay behind bars “until the case is resolved.”

Fast-forward to May of 2020. Still no murder charges filed in the RVing couple’s homicide. No doubt James and Michelle’s family were anxious. The district attorney announced that the crime lab had been running slow before the pandemic. With the virus rolling into town, office staff had been reduced. As far as DNA testing was concerned, the D.A. said, “Sometimes the process isn’t as fast as we’d like it.”

Finally, movement

Finally, in December 2020, another grand jury was convened. Williams, then age 34, and Noverr, 33, were indicted for first-degree capital murder. They “knowingly caused the death of James and Michelle Butler by shooting them with a firearm.” If Williams managed to bail out on the Texas charges earlier, it’s doubtful he’d have gone too far. Two charges were pending against him back in Utah: a first-degree sexual assault charge, and a first-degree felony aggravated assault case.

Nearly a year later, movement in the case. Earlier this month, Adam Williams pleaded guilty to several charges. Capital murder, unlawful use of a firearm, theft, and tampering with evidence, all in connection with the RVing couple’s homicide. Williams knew the district attorney had plans to push for a death penalty when his case went to trial. The trial won’t be required. Williams plea has lead to life in prison, with no possibility of parole. As to Amanda Noverr, authorities say it could be a matter of days before she appears in court.

While Adam Williams’ plea to charges won’t bring James and Michelle Butler back to their families, it may provide some measure of closure. Our thoughts go out to their loved ones.

Photo: James and Michelle Butler, alicia_C_ on twitter.com

Related: 

Missing RVers found dead, ruled homicide
Breaking News: Suspect in Padre Island RVers murders arrested
Six months after Texas RV murder arrests – What now?

##RVT1027b

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Uncle Swags
15 days ago

Further proof of the usefulness of the death penalty as a way to protect society which is government’s sole job. And don’t kid yourself about your humanity if you favor life in the (bleeped) factory instead.

rottenrollin
16 days ago

A couple of tat freaks…….

Bill
17 days ago

I would really like to know who James’ parents are. I knew a officer Butler in Colorado and am wondering if it was one of his kids.

Rita
16 days ago
Reply to  Bill

The Butlers were from NH, probably not the same Butlers.

Diane Mc
17 days ago

I am against the death penalty. Although there are many cases especially those involving children that make me waiver. From a strictly cost standpoint, there have been numerous studies, that because of the appeals process for the death penalty, it is actually more cost effective to put them away for life.

rottenrollin
16 days ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Most cost effective is for them to be shot trying to escape on the way to jail.

Dan Cunningham
17 days ago

There is no closure.

Dana D
17 days ago

So Williams killed two people. Now he gets to spend the rest of his life in jail being cared for by me, the tax payer. Free housing, food, medical care, exercise equipment, TV, etc. And the Butlers get to reside in a pine box! It’s time to bring back public executions (firing squad or hanging), including posting the execution on YouTube. It’s time to send a message to criminals.

Gene Bjerke
17 days ago
Reply to  Dana D

Life in prison is cheaper than execution. With all the possible appeals and other tactics, it usually costs the state less to store someone than to execute him.

Jay
16 days ago
Reply to  Dana D

👍

Doug
17 days ago

I am not a big fan of the Quran however it aligns with the code of Hammurabi (somewhat). An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. You steal loose a hand, you murder you forfeit your life in return. Agreed it is great they caught them but also they are hardened criminals and they don’t need to housed at taxpayers expense. Get rid of them properly and save us all the punishment.

AWH
17 days ago

Why is it they avoid the death penalty? Life in prison which is already overcrowded, yeah I don’t like the death penalty, but my goodness neither did the victims, which seem to never get justice

Bob
17 days ago

Glad things are moving forward on this case. Just one correction needs to be made to this article. It did not happen on S. Padre island. Yes it happened on the island but about 100 miles north of S. Padre. It was Not only north of S.Padre but North of the National Seashore. It was in fact about 1-2 miles south of Bob Hall pier in Kleburg county. Padre Island has a small but, growing community on the very northern end of the Island. Then you have the National seashore which is the worlds longest remaining stretch of undeveloped barrier island 60+ miles to Mansfield channel. South of the channel is the only stretch that is “South Padre Island”.

Sarah
17 days ago

I also resent the fact that the taxpayers will house, clothe, feed and provide medical care to this lowlife for as long as he lives (survives) in prison. What happened to the Butlers is actually better than this guy deserves

Richard Hughes
17 days ago

Keeping your eyes open, watching your surroundings and being aware go a long way in keeping you safe. I spent part of the summer in Idaho. At one campground I watched a guy with political flags cleaning his AR 15’s (plural). When he left several other campers noticed several items missing. It could have been someone else, but the trailer with multiple lawn chairs, bicycles and other items could be a clue as to where the missing items went.

Mike M.
17 days ago
Reply to  Richard Hughes

Cleaning legally-owned firearms (plural) is NOT a crime and neither is displaying “political flags”. Depending on which side you’re on, correct?

CLeeNick
17 days ago
Reply to  Richard Hughes

I rather doubt it. One, if they were leftist flags, it’s unlikely he would have been cleaning a single AR-platform weapons, let alone several. Secondly, if the person cleaning the firearms had ANY felony conviction, he would not have been able to legally purchase, or own, the weapons. Furthermore, if he were an ILLEGAL owner of said firearms, he would have been hiding them out, rather than displaying them.

Legal gun owners are, by a vast margin, a law abiding lot who would never endanger their legal status with petty thefts of camping gear. Nor would they have the desire to commit said thefts in the first place.

Most likely one should have looked for a ratty rig, occupied by tatted folks similar to the ones pictured above, who either don’t vote, or would vote opposite of the gentleman you describe. They would also not likely be able to afford the care and feeding of the machinery you describe, as they’d have likely already sold off said items in order to feed their “habits”.

Brenda Grady
17 days ago

This is another case that proves “plea deals” should NOT be an option. This monster, as well as his female accomplice, should be eliminated from society instead of being fed, housed and cared for at taxpayers’ expense for possibly the next 50+ years.
Rest in eternal peace,
Michelle and James Butler

Drew
17 days ago
Reply to  Brenda Grady

Thank you Brenda.

Rey L.
17 days ago
Reply to  Brenda Grady

Amen to that. 🤨

CLeeNick
17 days ago
Reply to  Brenda Grady

Agreed.

MrDisaster
16 days ago
Reply to  Brenda Grady

The “plea deal” saves years of appeals, millions of taxpayers dollars and allows the families of the victims some closure now rather than years of uncertainty about the final verdict.

Kurt Shoemaker Sr
17 days ago

The wheels of justice turn slow.

Bob p
17 days ago

Call me old fashioned but those two look evil enough for me not to want them near me. I don’t know if they surprised the murdered couple or if they casually walked down the beach towards them and stopped to talk before the murder but if I saw them coming I would retrieve my weapon before they got to me.

Danny E
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

I agree Bob and I’ve wondered the same thing. Does anyone know if the murderers knew the Butlers are did they just happened on them?

TexasScout
17 days ago

So glad to hear something has come of this. It was a Huge story here on the Texas Coast.

Vance
17 days ago

Thanks to programs like CSI the general public thinks processing DNA takes minutes and investigations should only take a day or two, when in reality it takes weeks, months and in many cases a year or more. Puts a lot of pressure on the authorities to rush to get answers for the media. Thankfully there was a process to hold those responsible until the appropriate charges could be filed.

Gabriella Gonzalez
17 days ago

We’re rethinking the joys of boondocking. Obviously could be dangerous if you run into the wrong folks! I want to relax and not be scared and worried.

Christine
17 days ago

This is why we don’t boondock. I realize this situation is rare, but it takes only once.

Tommy Molnar
17 days ago
Reply to  Christine

I’ve seen more ‘unsavory’ looking people in campgrounds than I have in our boondocking spots. In fact, we rarely see ANYBODY.

Drew
17 days ago

Unfortunately, these horrible cases make people feel unsafe in certain camping settings. Remember that a majority of violent crimes take place in large population centers where people are much easier targets. Criminals don’t seek out situations in sparse and remote spots in general.

Kurt B
17 days ago

Stay strapped or get clapped.