NEWBERRY, SC — The only suspect in a mysterious Newberry County killing died over the weekend in the Newberry County jail.
The suspect, Charles Butler, 76, of 305 East McKinley Street in Chambersburg, Pa was being held for the murder of his wife, Andreena Butler, 72, of US 176 in Newberry.
The Butlers had been married 50 years prior to a separation last year, and evidence showed Charles Butler snuck down to South Carolina and killed his wife, then went back to Pennsylvania, law enforcement officials said.
Newberry County Coroner Craig Newton said Sunday an autopsy showed Charles Butler died of a heart condition.
The discovery of Andreena Butlers body in her house by a friend several weeks before Christmas at first puzzled law enforcement officers.
On Saturday, Dec. 11, the friend who had repeatedly tried to contact Andreena Butler went to her house where she lived alone.
Unable to get anyone to answer the door, the friend broke into a locked garage door and spotted Butler lying on the floor through the window of a second door.
Authorities arriving on the scene found Butler dead and a small pool of blood nearby. The cause of death was not obvious.
An autopsy determined Andreena Butler died of a single gunshot wound to the head, coroner Newton said.
When a SLED and local investigation pointed to Charles Butler in Pennsylvania as the suspect, Charles Butler was extradited to Newberry.
Sheriff Lee Foster took pains to reassure the community there was not a random killer on the loose.
The killing was an isolated incident, which was the result of a domestic issue stemming from the separation, Foster said.
The case was to have been prosecuted by 8th Circuit Solicitor David Stumbos office.
Butlers death means there will be no trial.
At the time of his death on Saturday, Charles Butler was on the verge of having a visitation via teleconferencing from the jail when he became disoriented, Foster said.
Officers assisted him from the tele-visitation room in a wheelchair when he became unresponsive, Foster said. Corrections officers attempted life saving measures until Newberry County EMS arrived and determined there were no vital signs.
Under state protocol, SLED will also investigate the circumstances of Butlers jail death.
Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.