Guilty plea in Calvin Butts stabbing death

05/21/2010 12:00 AM |

A Northampton man pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter Thursday for fatally stabbing a Riverhead man during a brawl outside the Hampton Bays Diner Memorial Day 2009.
Jermaine Holmes, 26, entered a guilty plea before Suffolk County Judge James Doyle as part a deal to have the charge reduced, said his lawyer Susan Menu.
“He thought this was in his best interest to put this sad and terrible incident behind,” Ms. Menu said. “Bring some closure to it.”
Mr. Holmes originally pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges in the stabbing of his childhood friend Calvin Butts after turning himself in to police last June. If convicted of that charge, he would have faced 25 years to life in prison.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said Friday it will argue for a sentence of 25 years at Mr. Holmes’ sentencing June 29.
Ms. Menu said she is hoping for a sentence of 12 1/2 years.
Mr. Butts, 26, a Riverhead High School graduate, had just eaten at the Montauk Highway diner May 24, 2009 with his brother and friends, police said. They were leaving at about 4 a.m. when a fight erupted outside. Mr. Butts was knifed from behind during the melee, after which the suspects fled the area. He was transported by ambulance to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, where he died.
Evidence against Mr. Holmes included admissions he made to “a civilian,” the recovery of what prosecutors believe to be a murder weapon and an autopsy report that revealed four stab wounds to the victim’s back and one to his shoulder, Suffolk County assistant district attorney Jim Chalifoux told the News-Review last year.
vchinese@timesreview.com