Man sentenced to 15 years for setting up deadly drug deal

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 | 2:30 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A Holts Summit man, who was initially charged with second-degree murder, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday for attempted distribution of a controlled substance.

Samuel Butler was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in 2013 in connection with the murder of Anthony Unger.

According to court documents, Butler, 27, set up a drug deal with Unger, who traveled to Columbia from Jefferson City for the $1,400 sale. During the deal, a man later identified as Domionte Cheatum demanded the drugs at gunpoint, according to court documents and previous Missourian reporting. Unger tried to run away and was shot several times.

Cheatum was convicted of second-degree murder in June and sentenced to 40 years. Butler pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of a controlled substance a month later.

Butler received the maximum 15-year prison sentence.

His attorney, Stan Clay, said in an interview Wednesday that he and his client had hoped for a sentence of probation or a drug treatment program in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

"We had hoped for a lesser sentence based on cooperation with the murder investigation" of Cheatum, Clay said. He noted that Butler had been threatened and harassed after testifying against Cheatum.

Clay said a victim impact statement from Unger's mother had an impact on Judge Kevin Crane's sentencing decision. He said he wasn't sure when Butler would be eligible for parole.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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