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Man accused of murder over lost lottery ticket

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DETROIT, Mi. — Bruce Butler, a General Motors retiree who played the lottery for 40 years, didn't gun down a Southfield liquor store employee because he was angry he'd left a winning ticket on the counter months earlier, his attorney says.

If Butler had won a $1 million prize, he would have known better than to try to cash it at a liquor store, attorney Joe Niskar said in his opening statement Friday.

But while Niskar contends police got the wrong man, prosecutors say they have evidence to prove Butler, 60, of Southfield fatally shot Mike Khmoro, 48, in the parking lot of the liquor store on Oct. 6, 2010.

Butler is now on trial, charged with first-degree murder, in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Police say Butler intended to shoot Khmoro's younger brother, who owned the store, and mistakenly shot Khmoro. Witnesses told police that months before, Butler was upset because he'd left a winning lottery ticket on the counter in the store to get beer, and it was stolen.

In his opening statement, Assistant Prosecutor Ken Frazee told the 10 women and four men on the jury that there is ample evidence to show Butler was the gunman.

Frazee said surveillance cameras showed Butler's black GMC Envoy pull into the store's parking lot at 2:53 p.m., where it remained for more than an hour.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Khmoro — who worked in the liquor store — wheeled a shopping cart full of garbage bags out of the store and to a trash bin. As he wheeled the cart back, someone inside the Envoy shot him four times. He died an hour later at a hospital.

"Mr. Khmoro was defenseless at the time he was shot," Frazee said.

At the time, Butler was months away from retiring from GM after 36 years. He was arrested 10 months later after his brother-in-law, Andrew Roberts, went to police and said Butler had confessed.

Roberts, who is expected to be a key prosecution witness, told police Butler asked him to hide the murder weapon, a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson.

Niskar said police, desperate to solve an unsolved murder, got the wrong man. The SUV on the surveillance tape could have been blue or purple, he said, and Butler, with his distinctive white hair, did not match the description eyewitnesses gave of the driver.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Detroit Free Press

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25 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by jamella724.
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MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
Beautiful Florida
United States
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July 18, 2004
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Posted: September 24, 2013, 11:54 am - IP Logged

Not to worry Mr. Butler, Oshameo will be calling soon.

                                             

                                               "  When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty "


    United States
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    Posted: September 24, 2013, 12:36 pm - IP Logged

    They've got to have more than just the make of the car on the tape, cause that's a very popular model SUV..heck Ive got 3 in my neighborhood, 2 black and 1 white all within five houses of each other

      HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
      Idaho
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      July 17, 2010
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      Posted: September 24, 2013, 12:43 pm - IP Logged

      They've got to have more than just the make of the car on the tape, cause that's a very popular model SUV..heck Ive got 3 in my neighborhood, 2 black and 1 white all within five houses of each other

      Apparently they have his confession to his BIL, too.  Unless there's bad blood between them, I'd guess that would hold a lot of sway.

        RedStang's avatar - tallman zps6gf4inoc.jpg
        NY
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        Posted: September 24, 2013, 1:14 pm - IP Logged

        If he's on trial, the bullets probably match the gun.

          helpmewin's avatar - dandy
          u$a
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          February 22, 2011
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          Posted: September 24, 2013, 1:24 pm - IP Logged

          Man accused of murder over lost lottery ticket DETROIT, Mi

          Scared Shocking

          Let it Snow Snowman

            dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
            Oklahoma
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            November 12, 2009
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            Posted: September 24, 2013, 1:48 pm - IP Logged

            WTH killing an innocent man over a freaking lottery ticket.

            I Love Pink & Green 1908

              sully16's avatar - sharan
              Ringleader
              Michigan
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              October 28, 2009
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              Posted: September 24, 2013, 1:57 pm - IP Logged

              OOOOOOOOOH, Brother in law turned him in, guess whose got the ticket.Poke

              Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

              For a lead role in a cage?

               

                                                          From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                Oklahoma
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                Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:04 pm - IP Logged

                OOOOOOOOOH, Brother in law turned him in, guess whose got the ticket.Poke

                I know right this is some drama Lurking

                I Love Pink & Green 1908

                  RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                  mid-Ohio
                  United States
                  Member #9
                  March 24, 2001
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                  Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:13 pm - IP Logged

                  WTH killing an innocent man over a freaking lottery ticket.

                  ? a lottery ticket worth a freaking million dollars.

                   * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                     
                               Evil Looking       

                    mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
                    JACKPOT HUNTER

                    United States
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                    Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:15 pm - IP Logged

                    Police say Butler intended to shoot Khmoro's younger brother, who owned the store, and mistakenly shot Khmoro...I hate when that happens. DUMBA$$!!!.

                    Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

                    Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

                      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                      mid-Ohio
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                      Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:20 pm - IP Logged

                      OOOOOOOOOH, Brother in law turned him in, guess whose got the ticket.Poke

                      Sounds like a plan.  Another reason to never share your business with relatives and in laws

                       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                         
                                   Evil Looking       

                        dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                        Oklahoma
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                        Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:25 pm - IP Logged

                        ? a lottery ticket worth a freaking million dollars.

                        Still not worth taking a person life.

                        I Love Pink & Green 1908

                          HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                          United States
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                          March 18, 2009
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                          Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:41 pm - IP Logged

                          I wonder if Bruce Butler quickly reported lottery ticket theft and state's lottery headquarter's didn't/wouldn't help him? What?

                          Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                          Disney

                            RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                            mid-Ohio
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                            Member #9
                            March 24, 2001
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                            Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:42 pm - IP Logged

                            Still not worth taking a person life.

                            True, but many life have been taken for a lot less all over the country.

                             * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                               
                                         Evil Looking