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Police Don’t Report Friday Homicide Until Monday

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Posted at 8:37 AM, Dec 07, 2011
and last updated 2011-12-07 08:37:36-05

PETERSBURG, VA (WTVR)-  The family of a 90-year-old man who was robbed and beaten to death in his Petersburg home late Friday night are furious that police there didn’t report the slaying until Monday, which is why there were no news reports about the homicide case until CBS-6 broke the story at 11 p.m.

“It is a travesty,” said Ruth Maclin, niece of the victim, Clarence Butcher. “People need to know . . . People need to be requested, if anybody has any information about it, to come forward.”

A spokeswoman for the Petersburg police acknowledges the bulletin should have been sent out, and says it appears to be part of a computer problem with the department’s email system.

Butcher, an Army veteran and former postal worker, lived with his 52-year-old disabled daughter on N. Dunlop Street in northwestern Petersburg. He was a notary public and a regular contributor to a local newspaper.  He lived on a fixed income. In fact, his home recently got a facelift thanks to some volunteers.

Reportedly, he told his attacker again and again that he didn’t have any money as his legally blind daughter tried to stop the attacker, and suffered cuts on her hands trying to protect her father, Maclin said.

“From what we understand, an intruder came into the home,” she said, “held his daughter at knifepoint and took her upstairs to where he was asleep. And the intruder then commenced to fight him. She tried to defend him, she got cut in the process.”

“And she let us know he was basically thrown about the house like a ragdoll,” added great niece Joi Bowles. “Dragged down the stairs, beaten, hit, which ultimately led to his death.”

Relatives said the disabled daughter was initially brought in to police headquarters and questioned, then dropped off back at the house. While she can barely see, she told investigators the attacker was African-American, about 5-foot-8-inches tall. Anyone with information is asked to call Petersburg/Dinwiddie Crime Solvers at 861-1212.