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September 17, 2014

Jury deems it manslaughter in Jacklyn Butler’s death

Jacklyn Butler died at the accident scene the night of Aug. 11, 2013.
I am a good man; I’m a stand-up guy. My heart and my deepest condolences go out to the Butler family and friends. I’m truly sorry for your loss. I truly am.
— Dwayne Baker to jury before sentencing deliberations
UPDATE at 11:42 a.m.: After deliberating less than an hour Wednesday morning, the jury recommended a six-year prison sentence. The judge formally will impose the sentence in December.

A Fauquier jury Wednesday morning convicted a Culpeper man of aggravated involuntary manslaughter in a traffic accident that killed a 24-year-old Goldvein woman last year.

Dwayne Earlwin Baker, 37, will serve a sentence of one to 20 years in prison. The jury began sentencing deliberations at 10:40 a.m. Wednesday.

Jacklyn Briget Butler died at the scene of the head-on crash at 11:18 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.

Driving a 2010 Honda Accord westbound on Sumerduck Road, Mr. Baker swerved to avoid a vehicle waiting to make a left turn as Ms. Butler approached.

His car struck her eastbound 1991 Honda Civic head-on, about two-tenths of mile east of Silver Hill Road.

During the two-day trial this week in Fauquier County Circuit Court, Mr. Baker testified that he swerved to avoid a deer, which led to the crash.

He refused blood-alcohol tests for five hours after the accident, according to law enforcement authorities. When, a blood test took place, it showed an alcohol level less than legal intoxication.

Expert witnesses for the prosecution testified, however, that Mr. Baker would have been legally intoxicated when the wreck took place.

State Trooper Todd Ralls testified that he smelled alcohol on Mr. Baker’s breath at the accident scene.

“I am a good man; I’m a stand-up guy,” Mr. Baker told the jury after his conviction and before sentencing deliberations began. “My heart and my deepest condolences go out to the Butler family and friends.

“I’m truly sorry for your loss. I truly am.”

His wife and sister also testified, stressing Mr. Baker’s work ethic, church affiliation and dedication to family, including his 1-year-old daughter.

Tina Butler also gave tearful testimony about the loss of her daughter, a 2007 Liberty High School graduate, who attended Lord Fairfax Community College. Jacklyn Butler was a licensed cosmetologist who worked at the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles in Warrenton. She was an avid animal lover and rescuer.

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Russell L. Robb III argued for a sentence on “the high end” of the guidelines.

Mr. Baker expressed remorse and concern for the victim only after his conviction, Mr. Robb told the jury.

“The most important thing you should consider is loss of life,” he added, as the jury looked at a graphic autopsy photo of Miss Butler on a large screen. “We are here because Jackie lost her life.”

The sentence should serve as “a deterrent,” the prosecutor said.

Defense attorney Bruce A. Johnson Jr. made the case for a one-year sentence.

“The year that I suggest will be sufficient,” said Mr. Johnson, noting that his client would be away from his wife and daughter during a critical time.

Mr. Baker served 3-1/2 years in the Navy, then worked a variety of jobs before earning a bachelor’s degree in information technology and security from Strayer University.

Eleven months after he daughter’s death, Tina Butler lost her husband Larry to cancer.

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Resipsa · September 18, 2014 at 7:29 pm
This is a guy who made an incredible error in judgment. Clearly, if he is the man he says he is, he will have a lifetime sentence, no matter how much time he spends in prison society. What would Jesus do if he were the judge in this world?
barbd59 · September 18, 2014 at 11:20 am
This is so sad, He needs the max. remorse but only after his time was handed down, Im sorry people like that have no remorse shouldnt been drinking and driving. But you know he has to answer to the good lord.but still this is crazy he only gets six years for taking a life, need stiffer time for these jurks drinking and driving and maybe it would slow them down some GOD BLESS THE BUTLER FAMILY.
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