SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A lawsuit claims that federal agents and Schenectady detectives elicited false confessions from witnesses and failed to look at key leads in the case that Robert Butler’s attorney believed would have led them to Edward Leon and not his client.
Butler’s attorney says Federal Agents and Schenectady Police detectives failed to follow leads relating to Leon in the Hulett street arson fire that killed Safyre Terry‘s father and three siblings.
Instead, police charged his client Butler with capital murder and held him jail for nine months. He was later released when the focus shifted to Leon, who was later charged with perjury for lying about his whereabouts.
“His overall reputation has been tarnished. You have to put yourself in his shoes and think about what he must feel,” Raymond Gazer, Attorney at Getz & Braverman, said.
Butler is now seeking damages in a lawsuit claiming he was humiliated, lost employment, suffered emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
The civil suit accuses federal agents and Schenectady detectives of coercing false statements from witnesses including Terry’s mother Jennica Duell.
His former girlfriend who initially implicated him and then denied it and implicated Leon.
“It mentions that he smelt of gasoline yet there was no gasoline ever found on his clothes.”
The suit also claims that a citizen whose daughter dated Leon called police after Butler’s arrest and told them she also believed Leon was responsible for the arson.
Gazer says federal agents and Schenectady detectives continue to harass Butler and his friends.
“They’ve been shown things like the poor girl who was burned. Pictures of her and you know they’ve been sort of chastised.”