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In the News: Palm Springs Man Arrested for Beating Roommate Before Heading to Methadone Clinic May be Charged with Murder


Palm Springs, Fla. – 53-year-old Brad Butler remains in a coma as a result of a brutal beating he received over two weeks ago at the hands of his roommate, James Smith, 23.

Neighbors report hearing an argument around 9:30 or 10 p.m. on February 27th.This is when the alleged beating took place. Mr. Butler did not receive help until 12 hours later, on the 28th. According to an arrest report, medics found the victim in a pool of his own blood, urine, and feces on the living room floor of the apartment he shares with Smith.

The events of that not and the following morning are somewhat confusing. It remains unseen as to why it took so long for someone to call for help on Mr. Butler’s behalf.

In the News: Palm Springs Man Arrested for Beating Roommate Before Heading to Methadone Clinic May be Charged with Murder

Here is what is known so far, as reported by Smith, his girlfriend, their neighbors, and the police report.

According to police, on Feb. 27, Smith beat Butler and left him bloody and swollen without medical attention overnight and into the next morning. Also according to the report, their neighbors suspect the fight was over drugs.

Neighbors also told officers they heard a fight next door between 9:30 and 10 p.m., which is consistent with the evidence that Mr. Butler was attacked around 10 p.m.

Almost three hours had passed when Smith and his girlfriend, Brittany Harvey, knocked on their neighbors’ door, saying that their roommate, Butler, had hurt himself. Accompanying Smith and Harvey, the neighbors went over to the apartment and found Mr. Butler sitting on the couch, his face swollen and bloody, and he was making “gurgling sounds.” The neighbors told Smith and Harvey to call an ambulance but the couple refused, saying Butler was just drunk and needed to sleep it off.

The next morning, on their way out to work, the neighbors thought to check on Butler. This time, they found him on the floor, according to the report. It remains unclear as to why the neighbors didn’t call for help at that time.

It wasn’t until almost 10 a.m. – a full 12 hours after the attack that Palm Beach County Fire Rescue medics arrived at the apartment at 2300 Springdale Boulevard off of Kirk Road.

In the arrest report it says that Smith and Harvey changed their story multiple times throughout the interviewing process. One of the final versions of the couple’s story states that Smith was defending himself because Butler charged him that night.

Smith went on to tell officers that he got up around 6 a.m. the next morning to go to the methadone clinic for his heroin addiction, and then onto work. Smith stated that, at that time, Butler was still on the floor and that he heard him snoring. Smith said his girlfriend drove him to the clinic and then work after which she then called the authorities to get help for Butler, because she noticed that he was having trouble breathing, according to the report.

Smith appeared before Judge Joseph Marx on Thursday morning. He is being held on $27,000 being charged with aggravated battery and delayed medical treatment.

“You better hope he pulls through,” Marx said. “Because you may be facing a murder charge.”

Butler remains in critical condition at Delray Medical Center, according to a hospital spokesperson.

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