Jury Selection Set to Begin in Missing Bubonic Plague Trial - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/2/03

Jury Selection Set to Begin in Missing Bubonic Plague Trial

Many questions could soon be answered as jury selection is set to begin in Lubbock Monday in the case of a Texas Tech Professor accused of sparking a bio-terrorism scare.

It's been almost a year since Dr. Thomas Butler and missing Bubonic Plague material made national headlines. But now their could be answers, as the trail starts and a jury is called on to decipher the facts.

On January 11, Dr. Thomas Butler reported 30 missing vials from a Tech research lab, which started a national scare. Butler originally said he destroyed the vials but later said the FBI tricked him into confessing. He now faces 69 felony charges. Butler pleaded innocent to the charges, but now it's up to a jury.

Meantime Butler, his family, his attorney and his former colleagues are under a gag order, his neighbors however, are not. We walked his neighborhood Sunday only to find complete support for Butler and his family.

Mark Lawson, "His colleagues and neighbors have the highest respect for him as a person. And so were shocked by all of this stacking of different charges against him.."

Claudia Griffen, Butler neighbor, "They are a very very good family, very family oriented, supportive and I've always thought a lot of them."

Cindy Taylor, "I live in back of the Butler's and their daughter has baby sat for my son and they are just amazing people. They are kind and I can't imagine that Dr. Butler would ever do anything in a hurtful manner. He's just a really kind man and i think a lot of their family."

Most neighbors we spoke to, on and off camera, plan to attend the trial this week to show their support. Meanwhile, the missing plague vials have never been accounted for publicly. If convicted, Butler faces life in prison and $17.1 million in fines.

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