Joshua Butcher pleads Not Guilty in court arraignment
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The man accused of fatally shooting one man and injuring another at a Safeway on Airport Road in 2021 pled not guilty during an arraignment Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at the Rabinowitz Courthouse.
Joshua Eric Butcher is accused of Murder in the First Degree, one count of Assault in the First Degree, and six counts of Assault in the Third Degree after firing several rounds from a semi-automatic handgun inside and outside the Fairbanks Safeway West store on November 7, 2021.
One of those bullets killed Harley Ray Titus, who was exiting the building. Inside the store, another male was also shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
According to a press release issued on November 8, 2021, the Fairbanks Emergency Communications Center (FECC) received a call, around 6:53 p.m., from Joshua Eric Butcher who stated he was outside of the Fairbanks Police Department. Butcher told officers he had been at Safeway, and that officers could come out and arrest him.
Butcher also stated he would not answer questions without a lawyer present.
When officers detained Butcher, he was in possession of an empty gun holster and empty magazine holders. Detectives processing the scene observed multiple firearm magazines and multiple spent and unspent 9mm rounds.
While reviewing security camera footage of the incident, detectives observed the suspect approach the South entrance and shoot the first victim in the abdomen as he was exiting Safeway. The suspect then continued into Safeway and can be seen holding the firearm in his hand as he walked behind the registers heading North, before turning around and heading back out the entrance that he came in.
The family of Harley Ray Titus attended the arraignment. Harley’s sister Denise Titus wiped a tear from her eye. “It makes me very upset that he would think, you know, that we would just let it be a not guilty you know,” said Titus.
Ariel Traxler, niece of Titus said all the family has left to do now is keep his memory alive as much as they can, for as long as they can.
“I want to make sure that justice is served here,” said Denise Titus. “That is our main content because what he took from us was so great, and our grief is greater. It’s going to take a long time to get over this.”
Kelly Walker, Harley Titus’s significant other said Harley was a son, a brother, an uncle, and a friend to many.
“He was just so good to us, and everyone,” said Titus.
Butcher is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He is currently being held by the Department of Corrections on a $10 million bail.
An omnibus hearing is scheduled for April 7, 2022.
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