State supreme court upholds Buggs’ murder conviction

The Minnesota Supreme Court closed the final chapter on the case of convicted killer Louis “Butch” Buggs on Thursday when it upheld a lower court’s 1997 first-degree murder conviction.
The court ruled that a police account of the victim’s dying words were properly used against Buggs in his 1997 trial.
Besides attempting to strike the statements as evidence, defense attorneys hoped to convince the court that Buggs’ trial was not impartial after jurors overheard one prosecuting attorney whisper “she’s lying” during the testimony of Buggs’ sister.
Defense attorneys also took issue with the removal of one juror, based on her views about the justice system’s treatment of people of color. A white schoolteacher from Minneapolis, the juror told prosecutors she believed blacks are not treated fairly by the courts.
But the court ruled in favor of the prosecutors, with only one justice, Alan Page, dissenting.
Former University student Kami Talley, 22, was shot to death on Valentine’s Day in 1996. Talley, the mother of Buggs’ 5-year-old daughter, was shot eight times in the restroom at Electric Wire Products Corp. in Northeast Minneapolis.
A red gift bag with the words “Filled with Love” printed on it and marked with Buggs’ fingerprint was found at the scene.
Buggs, who said he was on his way to Texas at the time of the shooting, was apprehended in Virginia by FBI agents who had tracked him for more than two months.
During trial proceedings, the jury heard a description of the statements Talley made to the police officer who asked who had shot her. At first, she said “Butch,” which is Buggs’ nickname, then “Buggs.”
Such statements can be used as evidence if they’re made by a person who believes death is imminent.
Talley and Buggs met in high school; shortly into what became an almost four-year relationship, the couple’s child, Ambreen Talley, was born in 1991.
They bought a house together through Habitat for Humanity. But the couple broke up in 1995, and Talley moved into her grandmother’s house.
Buggs later served three months in jail for beating Talley, after which he was ordered not to contact her. But the couple repeatedly violated the order because Buggs wanted to see his daughter. The two stayed in touch through meetings and phone conversations.
Buggs is serving a life sentence without parole.
— Compiled from staff and wire reports.