SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – A man charged in connection with the shooting death of a Southfield liquor store employee will stand trial for first degree murder.
Police say 48-year-old Bruce Butler allegedly shot Mike Khmoro to death last October while he was taking out the garbage behind Cronin’s Liquor Store on Northwestern Highway near 12 Mile Road.
WWJ’s Crystal Knight was at Thursday’s preliminary exam, where a judge issued the first degree murder ruling during an emotional hearing.
Knight reports Butler’s brother-in-law testified that Butler confessed through tears that he killed Khmoro over a $250,000 lottery ticket dispute. He also testified that Butler told him he shot the wrong man and that he was actually looking for Khmoro’s younger brother, just to scare him.
Family members of Khmoro were very upset outside of the courtroom, after learning that he was not the intended victim of the shooting.
Despite requests from the defense for a second degree murder charge, the judge felt that there was enough evidence in Thursday’s testimony to charge Butler with first degree murder. Butler is also charged with felony possession of a firearm.
Supporters of Butler filled the courtroom, saying he could not have committed this crime. George Carter said he’s known Butler his entire life, and he’s not a murderer.
“After hearing the information I’ve heard, I cannot believe that Butler is capable of doing something like that,” said Carter.
Meantime, Khmoro’s nephew Kenny Mattee said his family members just want justice in his uncle’s death.
“What today’s testimony proved was that this guy really was an honest, hard-working man that, you know, takes his paycheck, goes home and supports his family. And today’s testimony proved 100 percent that he died in vain,” said Mattee.