By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Last fall the RVing community was shocked and outraged when an RVing couple, James and Michelle Butler, were first reported missing, then discovered to be the victims of murder on a Padre Island, Texas, beach. A month later, two “persons of interest” were located in Mexico and brought back to the U.S., where they were charged with felony theft (for the Butlers’ pickup truck), tampering with physical evidence, and felon in possession of a firearm.
It’s now been more than six months since the arrest of Adam Williams and his girlfriend, Amanda Noverr, who remain in jail in separate facilities in Texas. No murder charges filed. No movement toward court. Many wonder: Just what’s the holdup? Prosecutors suggest we can blame it on coronavirus.
In a story published by The New Hampshire Union Leader (the home state from where the Butlers hailed), Texas prosecutors were questioned about the seeming glacial speed at which the case is progressing.
Kleberg County, Texas, D.A. John T. Hubert told the paper that things were slow in the crime lab even before COVID-19 came to town. Now, he says, the office staff is cut back, and the pace is even slower. There is indeed evidence to be tested, some of it for DNA, but, says Hubert, “Sometimes the process isn’t as fast as we’d like it.”
On the sandy site where James and Michelle were found last October, a couple of crosses act as a memorial to the young full-timing RV couple. A local man has adopted the memorial and tends it carefully. Meanwhile, friends and family wait.