Buggs found guilty

by Jim Martykaand

Two families crammed into a Hennepin County courtroom Wednesday morning to await the fate of Louis Cardona “Butch” Buggs. However, only the family of University student Kami Talley left happy as Buggs was convicted of first degree murder.
Jurors reached the decision at about 10 a.m. Wednesday, bringing an end to the trial where Buggs faced charges of killing Talley at her workplace in northeast Minneapolis last Valentine’s Day. Deliberations began Monday afternoon and carried on for approximately 15 hours over the span of two and a half days. As required in a criminal case, the verdict was unanimous.
Buggs will serve a sentence of life in prison with a possibility of parole in no less than 30 years.
“It’s over. It’s a total relief but it didn’t bring back my daughter,” said Deborah Wood, Talley’s mother. “We’re very relieved and we got the verdict we wanted.”
The verdict marks the end of a trial that started Jan. 8. The jury members declared they were at an impasse in making a decision on Tuesday, requesting to review some testimony from the trial, including that of a Minneapolis police sergeant who claimed to hear Talley say Buggs shot her. Judge H. Peter Albrecht denied the jury’s request, leaving them to continue deliberations. The jury then announced they had a verdict Wednesday morning.
After the jury gave its verdict, members of both families were allowed to address the judge at the front of the courtroom. Wood said she was upset that Buggs wasn’t still in prison for the August 1995 assault on her daughter. She pleaded with the judge to make sure Buggs wasn’t allowed out of prison in 30 years.
“The hatred I have for this man is so horrible,” she said. “People like this have no place in this society.”
As Wood was making statements about earlier conversations with Buggs, he interrupted her, telling her to “sit down and stop lying.”
Before Wood spoke, Rose Napue, Talley’s grandmother, told Buggs directly that after a lot of praying, she was able to forgive him for killing her granddaughter.
“I want you to know, a long time ago I asked God to forgive you because I couldn’t do it on my own,” Napue said to Buggs.
Talley’s brother Maurice also spoke, and as he walked away from the judge, he and Buggs glared at one another for several seconds. When questioned afterwords, he acknowledged the situation.
“I couldn’t look away from the man that murdered my sister,” he said.
Wood’s mother and brother also addressed the court, before Buggs and his mother Denise Love were allowed to speak.
Love defended him in front of the court.
“My son does not have to show remorse to any of you,” she said. “They’re all wrong — my son did not do this.”
Love was unavailable for further comment after the verdict was announced.
After reading the verdict, Albrecht also allowed Buggs to address him. Buggs thanked his public defenders, John Lucas and Pia Sass, then questioned Albrecht about evidence that wasn’t admitted, which he claimed would have helped his case.
“There were a lot of things you didn’t allow the jury to see,” he said.
Buggs then turned his attention to the Talley family and said, “When I cry, it will be for Kami and my life sentence that I am about to serve.
“I’ve always loved Kami and I still do,” he said.
“All the rest of you, it doesn’t matter what you think of me,” Buggs said. “I didn’t kill Kami Talley.
“I’ll see you in a year when it comes up for appeal,” Buggs said. “Have a nice day.”
According to Minnesota law, Buggs’ case will automatically be filed for appeal in the Minnesota State Supreme Court. However, the court might not review the case for a year.
As Buggs was escorted out of the courtroom, Talley’s family members waved and yelled goodbye to him.
Family members, who were wearing buttons with a picture of Talley, then shuffled out into the hall where they cried and hugged each other.
“The jury spoke for me,” said Mat Talley, Kami’s father. “There was no other alternative.”
“Now the family can go on without the threat that he might be back,” said Jeanne Vescio, a friend of the family.
Family members also commended and thanked jurors before they were escorted out of the court room.
Lucas applauded the jury for taking time with the verdict.
“They didn’t take (the case) at face value and we appreciated that,” he said.
Lucas also said that he wasn’t sure what evidence convinced the jury that his client was guilty. “It’s pretty hard to tell because they were asking defense questions,” he said.
“What I don’t think lost it for him was his (Buggs) testimony,” Lucas said.
Buggs testified last Thursday and Friday and claimed that he was out of town during the shooting.
But family members said there was no doubt in their minds that the right man was convicted.
“Any reasonable person hearing that evidence — I was confident they’d do the right thing,” Mat Talley said.