A Kid or a Murderer?

December 29, 2008

This story caught my attention because of the person’s age and the brutality of the crime.  It’s being reported that a 15 year old, Sharell Butler of the Bronx, NY, is being held and charged for 2 separate murders.

Sharell Butler

Sharell Butler

A 15-year-old girl has been arrested in the stabbing of a man whose dismembered body was found stuffed in a garbage bag in the Bronx – and in a second unrelated murder.

Baby-faced Sharell Butler, known by pals as “Lady Red,” was charged with murder, manslaughter and assault in the death of John Hopkins Drago, the adopted Russian son of a Bronx family.

Butler, of the Bronx, was also charged with second-degree murder and robbery in a Dec. 19 home invasion that led to the fatal shooting of a Throgs Neck man whom she and another suspect had intended to rob. [Read the full article here]

Of course we must operate under the premise of innocent until proven guilty, but if any of it is true, how depraved.  Her father is claiming she is innocent.  Most parents do make that claim.

The news is reporting that Sharell is known as Lady Red on the street and is apart of the notorious gang known as the Bloods.  Where that information came from is not being reported.  Of course being objective I can not put too much faith in unsubstantiated speculation.  The people in her neighborhood do not believe she could have committed those crimes.

Residents of Butler’s apartment building in Morris Park were stunned at the news that the seemingly friendly teenager was responsible for two cold-blooded murders.

“She’s a good kid,” said one woman who refused to give her name. “I don’t think she could do that.”

“She plays with my grandkids,” the woman said. “She’s like my granddaughter.”

Of course no one really knows what another person is capable of until after something has happened and is proved.  Equally, since I live in New York, our police force is known for locking innocent people up based off of part laziness, sloppiness and a certain amount of bias towards a particular race.

I will be watching this story for its shock value alone.  I am fully aware that a 15 year old can commit some of the most hideous crimes absence any remorse, but until there is more substantiated information given by our police department on how this young lady is connected, I think I’ll stay with being undecided for now.

Pictures of the victims below:

Christopher Umpierre

Christopher Umpierre

John Hopkins-Drago

John Hopkins-Drago


  1. It seems to be that the fact that she could be a murderer is highly likely and in fact that really does not surprise me. We live in a world.. that has surpassed the atrocities of Sedom and Gemorrah, and that is saddening. But some of these crimes in which seem totally surprising and unlike the person I have to say it seems like demonic possession.

  2. Hmmmm. Sounds to me like there is a lot of investigating to do in that murder. It doesn’t add up. I’ll be curious to see if it is “Sentence first, verdict afterwards,” or if there is a real investigation.

  3. Silentmelody08, the fact that you feel that the young lady can be a murderer absent any real fact has me wondering about you. I would have appreciated if they had reported that DNA, fingerprints or something linked her to the crime. That report was absent any tangible evidence and was mostly speculative. I think we should give them time to investigate and see what evidence there is before we condemn the person. Remember the 8 year old that shot his father? Turns out he was abused. Let’s not always jump to conclusions without real facts. In our country where anything and most things goes it is easy to see the dark side. Let’s give it time and wait to see if there is a dark side. Could be the young lady is as guilty as hell. Could be she’s innocent.

  4. I don’t know what writing this will prove or solve, but I wanted to share my thoughts on a former student of mine, Sharell Butler, who is now an alleged murderer.

    I began my teaching career two years ago at PS/MS 194 in the Bronx as a 25-year-old white kid who grew up in the suburbs just outside Westchester and knew close to nothing about life in the Bronx ‘hoods. Sharell Butler was among the first group of students I ever worked with in this school, or anywhere for that matter. It was apparent, at least to me, early on in that school year that I was way out of my league teaching some of these students who clearly lived their lives much differently than I do mine. Sharell was one of the students whom I had the most difficulty keeping under control in my classroom, although we seemed to share an odd kind of mutual respect for one another. I can remember even requesting a meeting once with her and her father to convey to him myself the kind of foul language and behavior I had observed her using in my classroom.

    Sharell was certainly wise beyond her years as a scrawny, lanky 13-year-old who was just growing into her young adult body. She was one of those kids who, despite often making poor behavioral decisions, had a genuinely mature and caring personality. She liked to show off in front of her friends and classmates (and teachers, I guess). I even remember one time she picked a fight with another tough eighth grade girl right outside my classroom door just so that she could cause a scene and have school safety agents restrain her. However, just seeing how smart she was, how good her work was, how she cared for her family and especially friends, allowed me to see through her tough exterior. I could tell she was different from most of the rest of the kids I worked with.

    Sharell spent much of the first half of that year causing trouble and acting up. I should probably point out that three of her eighth grade teachers were brand new to the profession, one other was new to that school, and there were brand new school administrators that year as well. But I think what I will remember most about Sharell is the relationships that I saw her have with others. Back then, her boyfriend was one of the more popular and “charming” boys in her grade and everyone thought they were so cute together. She would ask to see my wedding picture and was inquisitive in a curious teenaged kind of way about my life outside of school. Unfortunately, a little more than half way through that year, Sharell transferred out of my school to go live with her older sister in hopes of changing her lifestyle some.

    Sharell would come back and visit us at the school a few more times that year and even once or twice the next year. She always greeted me with lots of enthusiasm and what seemed to me to be gratitude for the months we shared as teacher and student. I still do not know how it happened so quickly that year, but she and I seemed to have built a bond and a great mutual respect for each other that I never thought would happen when I first met her. To me, Sharell is right at the top of a select list of students from that year who truly symbolize my transformation from an inexperienced, novice, “white bread” teacher to someone who has been hopefully molded into a capable teacher and role model. I can only hope that during those months she spent in my classroom I was able to provide her with the same kind of meaningful learning experience that she gave me.

    If there is one thing I have tried so hard to do as a young teacher it is to always believe in and never give up on a student. I did not give up on Sharell when she was misbehaving in my class. Instead, I tried to help her by having her own up to her actions and understand the high expectations of which everyone desperately wanted her to live up to. I was even able to learn a lot from her through that course of disciplinary action. Therefore, I would consider it an even bigger crime for me to want to give up on her now. Far be it from me to pass judgment on her guilt or innocence. But let me conclude by saying that I find the need to believe in her now just as much, if not more, than I believed in her then.

  5. Thank you so much for your response and your words were greatly appreciated. I too will give her the benefit of the doubt. I need much more evidence before assigning the young lady to being totally depraved and indifferent. My opinion might have been different if the young lady was a drug user (crack), but the lack of any real evidence being presented gave me pause. Last time I checked NY had a nasty habit of locking people up with out evidence and does a good job on praying on peoples fears, prejudices and need to blame someone.

  6. Thank you for believing in her innocence. What needs to be expressed is , ” THE MEDIA is a piece of work” not Sharell.

  7. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”. At this time this young lady is innocent. Hopefully she will get a fair trial if the mdeia and the police department don’t f*^k that up as they are know to do.

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