Sabrina Butler, aka Sabrina Butler Porter, the first woman in the United States to beat death row, will have her story told on the next Justice By Any Means–a one-hour TV crime series on TV One. Sabrina Butler was accused in the 1980s of killing her 9-month-old son after he was discovered unresponsive. The Justice By Any Means episode titled “Sabrina Butler” centers around a young black mother who is falsely accused of murdering her own child and the fight to prove her innocence. Butler was finally exonerated of the crime and freed. On Monday night’s episode, listen as Sabrina Butler tells her story in her own words. Various experts and law enforcement officials will also add to the story.
Sabrina Butler was just a 17-year-old Mississippi teenager in 1989 when she arrived home after a late-night jog to find her 9-month-old son not breathing. She went from door to door to get help and she even attempted CPR on her baby but had no idea that the CPR technique that she was using was to be performed on adults only. The baby was finally transported to the hospital where he later died, according to court records found at FindACase.
“Nine-month-old Walter Dean Butler was brought to the emergency room of Columbus Hospital by his mother, Sabrina Butler, at 12:13 a.m. on April 12, 1989. The infant was dead on arrival, and attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful. The baby died as a result of severe internal injuries. Sabrina was questioned about the cause of the injuries to her infant son, gave conflicting statements, and was ultimately placed under arrest later that morning for the capital murder of Walter Dean Butler.”
Completely distraught over the loss of her son, Sabrina Butler believed the worst punishment she would face was an arrest for leaving him at home unattended. Instead, the frightened young woman was arrested and charged with capital murder. Butler was later sentenced to death row, where she remained for six years until she won her appeal and her freedom. Witness To Freedom describes how it all came about.
“In 1995, Sabrina’s case went to retrial. At the trial, one of Sabrina’s neighbors had come forward with evidence that corroborated her account that the injuries to her son occurred during the course of an unsuccessful attempt to administer CPR. In addition, the medical examiner changed his opinion about Walter’s cause of death, which he now believed occurred due to a kidney malady. On December 17, 1995, Sabrina was exonerated after spending more than five years in prison and 33 months on death row.”
But even after her release from prison, life has not been easy for Sabrina Butler. Some still believe that she killed her baby. To tell her side of the story in her own way, Sabrina Butler wrote a book titled, Exonerated: The Sabrina Butler Story.
Today, Sabrina Butler, also known as Sabrina Porter, travels all over the United States, telling her story and talking about the injustices that exist in the justice system. The advocate and activist talks not only about her own story but also about the stories of others who have been wrongly accused.
Produced by Jupiter Entertainment and hosted by Faith Jenkins, Justice By Any Means re-enacts the stories of some of America’s most brave men and women who have launched their own investigations and fought for justice for themselves or for their loved ones. The show first premiered in December 2015 and has been a hit among TV One’s viewers.
To see the case of Sabrina Butler tune into Justice By Any Means this Monday, May 23, at 10/9 p.m. central on TV One.
[Image via AP Photo/Michael S. Green]