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Sunday, April 13, 1997
Man charged in murder was given immunity in
DALLAS (AP) - A man now charged with the murder of a truck
driver had murder charges dropped against him once before at the
request of the victim's family.
Adonis Baxter exchanged his testimony in a 1994 murder case
for immunity. He agreed to testify in a civil lawsuit the victim's
family filed against the apartment complex where the murder occurred;
the family ended up getting $250,000.
Now Baxter is again charged with murder, this time in the January
slaying of Stephenville truck driver Noble Butler.
Butler, 58, was killed outside a Borden milk plant in south
Dallas during an attempted robbery, police said. Investigators
said four men jumped on Butler's truck and one shot him in the
Baxter was arrested in Aurora, Colo. Another suspect was arrested
earlier this week in Dallas.
Baxter's first murder charge involved the death of Aaron Haughwout.
Police say Haughwout's attackers mistook him for a member of
a rival gang as he sat in his pickup at the Holly Tree Apartments
in north Dallas in November 1994.
According to court documents, the assailants beat and kicked
him. When he slumped to the ground, one of them shot him twice.
Baxter and four others were indicted on murder charges.
One man was convicted of murder and two others pleaded guilty
to involvement in the slaying. The family filed a lawsuit in apparent
frustration after the three received only five-year sentences.
"These guys are all getting five years," the victim's
mother said. "And that sends the wrong message, loud and
clear, to all those other gang members out there."
Baxter was supposed to go to trial in August 1996, but two
months earlier, the Haughwouts asked Dallas County prosecutors
to drop their cases against him and another suspect, Santis Jackson.
The cases were dismissed a month later.
According to the affidavits, the Haughwouts made the arrangement
in exchange for the suspects' testimony in the civil suit.
"We thought it was a weak case, and we respected the wishes
of the family," said prosecutor Martin Miller.
The only evidence against Baxter in the case was testimony
from the other gang members charged, Miller said, and their testimony
Testimony also indicated that Baxter was on the other side
of the apartment building when Haughwout was attacked, Miller
said. In his deposition for the civil case, Baxter said he went
to the apartment complex with the men, but wasn't in the area
when Haughwout was killed.
Miller said even if Baxter was given the option of pleading
to a lesser charge, he would have gotten probation and would have
been free when Butler was killed.
A trial is scheduled to being Monday in Dallas for a second
lawsuit filed by the Haughwouts, this one against security companies
employed by the housing complex.Send a Letter to
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Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps Publications
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