IN THE COURTS

Update: Ferro sentencing rescheduled

Life imprisonment possible for 2009 stabbing. Attorneys file motion for new trial

November 29, 2013 

Nicholas Ferro

Nicholas Ferro, who was convicted of second-degree murder in September for the 2009 stabbing death of Marquise Butler, will wait until February to find out his sentence.

Ferro, 26, could receive life in prison when he goes before Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia on Feb. 7. His sentencing was scheduled for Monday, Dec. 2, but it was changed last week.

Ferro's attorneys, Edward O'Donnell and Edward O'Donnell IV, have also filed a motion for a new trial. Garcia is scheduled to rule on the motion on Feb. 6.

An Upper Keys jury found Ferro, 26, guilty of second-degree murder on Sept. 27. He killed Butler, then 23, on Oct. 31, 2009, during an early-morning brawl on Duval Street.

Ferro’s attorneys unsuccessfully argued self defense. O'Donnell and O'Donnell IV said their client and his friends were attacked by an angry Key West mob that included Butler.

Ferro, his attorneys said, jumped into the middle of a group beat-down being meted out on his friend, Jorge Averoff. He said he pulled his pocketknife out after being knocked to the ground by Butler, who Ferro said ran into the knife's small blade when he lurched to hit Ferro again.

Butler died later that morning on a Lower Keys Medical Center operating table. The 2.5-inch blade penetrated 6 inches into Butler's abdomen.

A jury took less than two hours to find Ferro guilty of murder, despite emotional testimony from Ferro's friends saying he saved Averoff's life, and a discovery violation by one of the state's main witnesses.

This was the second time Ferro faced trail for killing Butler. The first trial ended in a hung jury, prompting Chief Circuit Court Judge David Audlin to declare a mistrial. The case was moved to the Upper Keys because Butler and his family are too well known in Key West.

Prosecutors Breezye Telfair and Miesha Darrough from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office took the place of Monroe County prosecutors because several staff members here had tied to the Butler family. Between his trials, Ferro was released on $750,000 bond.

During closing arguments in Ferro's second trial, the O'Donnells told jurors that Ferro made a split-second decision to jump in the middle of a the melee around 4 a.m. near Caroline and Simonton streets to help Averoff fend off an attack from Butler and other locals.

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