Man faces life in prison for alleged crime of passion

A man accused of killing his romantic rival two weeks after the victim’s wedding will be held to answer on murder charges, a San Mateo County judge ruled Monday.

Samuel Blackmon, 44, is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was convicted of forcible rape in 1993.

Following Blackmon’s preliminary hearing Monday, Superior Court Judge Stephen Hall ordered him back to court Oct. 16 to set a trial date.

Prosecutors allege that on July 6, 2006, Blackmon entered his ex-girlfriend’s Redwood City apartment and shot her new husband, 49-year-old Sequoia school district bus driver Jeffrey Henderson.

Beatriz Buttler, the woman at the center of the case, returned home to find Henderson dead with a rope tied around one wrist, said Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini.

Henderson and Buttler were involved in a “very long-term relationship” before ultimately marrying, Giannini said.

“At one point, they broke up because the victim wouldn’t marry her. She moved out and became involved with Mr. Blackmon,” he said. But soon, Henderson came back into her life, and she began dating both men, he said.

Blackmon proposed to Buttler, and the engaged couple was making plans to buy a house when she apparently had a change of heart and married Henderson, according to prosecutors.

Two weeks later, Henderson was dead and Buttler is now making plans to marry the incarcerated Blackmon, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors say Buttler has an alibi for the day of the killing, and there is no evidence to suggest she was aware of any plan to murder Henderson. Still, they have not yet offered her immunity in exchange for her testimony.

Buttler, now engaged to Blackmon, resisted testifying against him, citing her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself. At Monday’s preliminary hearing, Giannini did not call her to testify, but said he may do so during the trial.

Prosecutors allege Henderson’s murder was carefully planned.

“Whoever killed Mr. Henderson brought a rope and a gun to the apartment. That certainly suggests premeditation,” Giannini said.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Blackmon will spend the restof his life behind bars.

His attorney, Public Defender Lisa Maguire, was not immediately available for comment.

tbarak@examiner.com

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