Family says murder victim should have been locked up on day of death

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Linda Butler said two weeks before her son died she had talked with him about getting his life together.

“He was always out there in them streets not doing right,” said Butler, a couple days after she buried her son. “I talked about how he needed to quit running these streets and doing this and doing that and stuff that he shouldn’t be doing and this was always.”

Butler’s advice apparently fell on deaf ears as Earl Whitney was in violation of his probation on the late afternoon of March 8 as he slumped in his mother’s living room in the 500 block of N. Tacoma Ave. with a childhood friend who appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

“They was high on something,” said Butler who doesn’t think her son’s friend recalls meeting her that day. “I don’t know what but they were high and I guess he must have nodded off.”

Whitney was supposed to working on his buddy’s truck when Butler said her son tried to rouse his guest out of his stupor.

“He got up and tapped him on the leg just like this. He said, ‘Come on, cuz. It’s me, cuz.’”

Butler said the friend started to awaken.

“And then prior to doing that he eased up like this something out of his pocket and then when I seen it, it was a gun, and he shot him and then he sat there for a few minutes and he shot him again and that’s when I said, ‘You so-and-so, you shot my son,’ and then he got up and ran out.”

Butler said Whitney and the man she witnessed shoot her son grew up together in the Laurelwood community on the city’s southside.

That was before Whitney got in trouble, mostly drugs and driving charges with an occasional low level violence count.

Twice in the last year, Whitney was found guilty of criminal charges and given suspended sentences to be served with probation, and more than once he violated those conditions.

“He ended up out and he was supposed to have been going to Work Release, he wasn’t even supposed to be on the street prior to all of this happening,” said Butler. “He was supposed to have been in Work Release, see what I’m saying.”

On January 2, Whitney was sentenced to almost two years in Community Corrections, including probation, drug testing and home detention, on a narcotics conviction.

Exactly two months later, Whitney was ordered back into Community Corrections and Work Release with GPS Home Detention Monitoring after pleading guilty to a charge of Resisting Law Enforcement.

Butler said Whitney refused to play by the rules.

“I don’t know what Earl was thinking,” said his mother, “but I told him he should turn himself on back in but he was, ‘What’s the sense of me? Since I was out I aint going back.’”

On March 6, Community Corrections filed a violation against Whitney.

Two days later, he was dead.

“But to do it in my house in front of me,” said Butler. “I could’ve understand it better if he was outside or somewhere else but to murder my son right in front of me, come on, no, I want justice for my son.”

Butler gave the name of her son’s killer to police, and that man’s family attended Whitney’s funeral last Friday.

“They know what’s going on. They know what’s going on. Come on.”