Man who killed special-needs woman sentenced to 40 years of prison in remote hearing

Montrail Butler convicted in fatal shooting of Stephanie Woodford

SAN ANTONIO – The ‘courtroom’ was actually a series of computer screens Wednesday afternoon for the formal sentencing of Montrail Butler, 24.

He was convicted in February for the March 18, 2017 killing of Stephanie Woodford, a special-needs woman.

She was found shot to death in her East Side home that night, according to witnesses, a house she occasionally shared with Butler.

Man arrested in fatal shooting of special needs woman

During Wednesday’s hearing, Butler appeared from jail.

Judge Stephanie Boyd conducted the proceedings remotely from her 187th District Court courtroom with prosecutors and defense attorneys participating from their offices.

During closing arguments, defense attorney J. Charles Bunk asked for mercy for Butler.

“Mr. Butler has matured extensively in the past 3 1/2 years, almost 4,” Bunk said. “He was a very young man at the time of the offense.”

Mother of special-needs woman shot to death in Northeast Side home seeking answers

Prosecutors asked Boyd to give Butler the maximum.

“We’re asking the court to sentence the defendant in this case to life in prison because that is the only fair sentence,” prosecutor Nicole Phillips said.

Butler was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The sentencing hearing is believed to be the first murder case to be conducted remotely.

Remote hearings are being used often since a moratorium on jury service was mandated in mid March over concerns about the spread of the corona virus.

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