After three years in the Durham County Jail, Sean Butler waves farewell to fellow inmates as he leaves with friends and family following his release on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in Durham, NC. Butler's first-degree murder charge was dismissed just before attorneys finished seating a jury. Butler was recently arrested on robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon charges. Casey Toth ctoth@heraldsun.com
After three years in the Durham County Jail, Sean Butler waves farewell to fellow inmates as he leaves with friends and family following his release on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in Durham, NC. Butler's first-degree murder charge was dismissed just before attorneys finished seating a jury. Butler was recently arrested on robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon charges. Casey Toth ctoth@heraldsun.com

Durham County

Police arrest armed robbery suspect less than 3 months after DA dropped murder charge

By Virginia Bridges And Tammy Grubb

tgrubb@heraldsun.com

vbridges@heraldsun.com

December 01, 2017 11:28 AM

DURHAM

Police have arrested a third person in the armed robbery of a West Trinity Avenue store where a shot was fired Sunday.

Shawn Leroy Butler, 19, of Durham, was charged Thursday with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was placed in Durham County Jail under $500,000 bail.

Shawn Butler

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Butler was released from Durham County jail on Sept. 19 after murder and other charges were dismissed against him just before a jury was seated for his trial. Butler, who has an intellectual disability, was charged with killing 18-year-old Rakwon Smith in 2014.

Assistant District Attorney Jim Dornfried, who requested the dismissal, said at the time that new evidence raises doubts about Butler’s guilt. No new information has been released about the case.

Butler’s mother and attorney couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Durham police charged two other suspects shortly after the robbery at the Triangle D Food Mart, located at 403 W. Trinity Ave. A witness told police two men armed with guns and wearing black bandanas over their faces entered the store around 9 p.m. Sunday. One fired a shot into the floor of the store during the robbery, but no one was injured, police said.

The suspects fled in a gray car with New York tags, which Officer J.H. Wagstaff spotted about 45 minutes later on North Duke Street. Wagstaff stopped the car in the parking lot of the Hardee’s restaurant at 3912 N. Duke St., and the front passenger jumped from the car and ran. The driver and another passenger stayed in the car.

Police found a stolen gun inside the car.

They charged the car’s driver, Joyce Beavers, 35, of Durham, and a passenger, Kevin Deshawn Powell, 26, of Durham, with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Beavers also was charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and Powell also was charged with failure to appear in court on an earlier charge of hit-and-run, police said.

Both were taken to the Durham County Jail. Beavers was placed under $300,000 bail; Powell was under $284,000 bail.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges