WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah County man who once suffered an apparent panic attack in court must serve jail time for a 2016 drug charge.
Mitchell Hagger Butler appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday where he faced sentencing for committing two counts of dealing drugs.
Judge Dennis L. Hupp sentenced Butler to five years in prison with four years and three months for one count of distribution of a controlled substance and five years, all time suspended, for a second count of the same offense.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley and Butler’s lawyer Jerry O. Talton Jr. reached an agreement that called for the defendant to plead guilty to the two charges. Hupp granted a motion by the commonwealth at a Dec. 19 hearing to dismiss Butler’s third drug distribution charge.
Hupp ordered Butler to pay $65 in restitution and to complete four years of supervised probation.
Indictments charged Butler with distributing controlled substances in October 2016. Authorities arrested Butler on a bench warrant May 13, 2017, shortly after the grand jury handed up its indictments.
Judge Clark A. Ritchie held a hearing Dec. 12 on a motion to revoke Butler’s bond. Butler appeared agitated and talked out loud during the hearing, interrupting the judge at times and turning around to speak to his wife in the audience. Butler pleaded with the judge to let him remain free on bond and insisted he needed to seek help for his drug addiction. The defendant also told the judge he wanted a different attorney.
Ritchie told Butler to calm down, but the defendant told the judge he was suffering from a panic attack, couldn’t breathe and felt his heart racing. Butler stood up and, as a bailiff tried to help him, fell to the floor. Ritchie expressed concern for Butler and had the bailiff escort the defendant from the courtroom.