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Sunday, October 26, 2014 | Last updated: 2:27am

Facebook photo sends woman to prison for 12 years





 



A 163-day jail sentence turned into 12 years in prison for a woman who was found in violation of probation after she posted a Facebook photo of herself holding a handgun.



Yuba County Judge Kathleen O'Connor on Monday gave Amy Marie Butler, 24, the maximum sentence for her part in a 2005 abortive marijuana robbery that led to the shooting deaths of Olivehurst residents Scott Davis and Christopher Hance.



Butler's probation was set to end in 2014. But last year she went on a camping trip to Sierra County and was photographed holding the handgun while target-shooting.



A man stood behind Butler with his hands over hers, as if teaching her how to shoot, said her attorney, David Vasquez.



Butler's ""stupidity was evident,"" Vasquez said, but she didn't own the gun and didn't possess it under the usual circumstances that lead to a probation violation, he said.



During the trial of another defendant, Butler was called the ""mastermind"" of the plot to steal medical marijuana from Hance and Davis, both of whom she knew from high school days. She told her friends about the marijuana at Hance's Chestnut Road home.



On an initial trip to Olivehurst, Butler tried to lure Hance and Davis off the property but only Davis responded, said O'Connor.



On a second, fatal trip, Butler stayed home in AntelopeMichael Huggins entered the property with a .45-caliber handgun and ended up shooting Hance and Davis in a struggle. A jury convicted him of voluntary manslaughter and he was sentenced to 17 years.



Prosecutor Brad Enos said the shootings might not have happened if Butler had not told Huggins that Hance and Davis were armed.



""You don't bring your fists to a gunfight,"" Enos said.



Vasquez told the judge there was no indication in earlier trials that Butler even knew Huggins and the others were making the second trip.



But O'Connor pointed to Butler's testimony in the Huggins trial in which she admitted talking about using rope to tie up the men on the second trip.



Butler agreed to testify against the other defendants. She pleaded no contest to robbery in which a principal was armed, receiving the jail sentence instead of prison.



Vasquez said prosecutors ""sometimes have to make a deal with the devil"" to get what they want.



""But she's not the devil,"" he said.



O'Connor received a number of letters from Butler supporters, including one of her two children, who wrote, ""I miss my mommy.""



Butler asked to have her probation reinstated but O'Connor was not swayed.



The sentence left Butler crying softly and put smiles on the faces of numerous relatives and friends of Hance and Davis.



""I'm just happy with Judge O'Connor, that's all,"" said Hance's sister, Sheila Hance.



Enos said Butler's posting of the gun photo ""defies imagination.""



""She had her chance. She failed in a flagrant manner,"" he said.



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