During a District Court hearing Monday, a judge ordered Howard jailed without bond but noted that the case appears complicated, with the charging documents reading as if police did not believe Howard was trying to kill Butler.
Howard’s public defender said this was a case of “imperfect” self-defense. The public defender said Howard works in real estate, has a 1-year-old daughter and no prior criminal record.
Police said the incident happened about 1:50 a.m. Sunday in the 5100 block of College Avenue near Campus Drive.
Officials said that police were called to RPM Towing in that area and that when officers arrived they found Howard holding an unconscious Butler in a choke hold, with both men sitting on the ground. Officers ordered Howard to release his hold on Butler, and three officers performed CPR on the victim, police said.
Butler was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Relatives of Butler could not immediately be located Monday for comment and calls to the towing company were not immediately returned.
An autopsy was performed by the medical examiner’s office, and officials ruled Butler’s death a homicide “due to asphyxia strangulation,” police said in a statement.
In charging documents, police said Howard told them that he and Butler got into an argument before Howard allegedly grabbed Butler and “slammed him on the ground” before putting him into the chokehold.
Justin Wm. Moyer contributed to this report