A formal arraignment is scheduled this morning for 59-year-old James Buterbaugh, the Marion Center-area man accused of shooting to death his best friend on May 25th on a gas well road.
Buterbaugh is charged with criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person for killing 51-year-old David Ackerson.
Both men lived in Grant Township, Buterbaugh on Hartman Road and Ackerson on Buterbaugh Road. Police say the two had spent the day drinking together and Buterbaugh became upset when Ackerson showed up at his home with two plates of food that Buterbaugh’s mother had prepared for them. Buterbaugh accused Ackerson of mooching and the two argued, with Buterbaugh eventually driving away to the gas well road and Ackerson following. When Buterbaugh threatened to shoot him, Ackerson told him to go ahead and do it, so he did, hitting him in the stomach with the fatal shot.
At a formal arraignment, the defendant is apprised of the charges against him and of his rights, and is expected to plead guilty or not guilty. Buterbaugh’s attorney, Bob Bell, has said that his client admits he shot his friend and he says a plea deal has been discussed. The proceeding today is scheduled for 8:30 AM before Judge Thomas Bianco.