Denard "Drama" Butler, a defendant in the 6ix9ine case, was denied an early release even though he has health issues that make him vulnerable to COVID-19.
Though 6ix9ine essentially received a slap on the wrist after cooperating with authorities in his federal case, he was released last week due to the coronavirus pandemic. 6ix9ine is asthmatic, making him a vulnerable inmate to the spread of COVID-19. However, one of the rapper's co-defendants in the case who suffers from similar health issues was denied being placed in home confinement.
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Complex reports Judge Paul Engelmayer has turned down Denard "Drama" Butler's motion to be released early from prison to complete the remainder of his sentence on home confinement. Butler was sentenced to 60 months in prison for his involvement as a lower-tier member of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. Butler suffers from asthma and bradycardia which also makes him just as much of a vulnerable inmate as 6ix9ine.
"COVID-19 presents a heightened risk for incarcerated defendants like Butler with respiratory and cardiac ailments," Judge Engelmayer wrote, acknowledging that the crowded space inside of the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention center "present[s] an outsize risk that the COVID-19 contagion, once it gains entry, will spread."
Ultimately, Judge Engelmayer decided against an early release due to Butler's prior convictions that have shown a pattern of "violent and dangerous conduct.
"While the prospect of contracting COVID-19 undeniably presents a serious risk to Butler’s health, his release some 45 months early at least equally exposes the community to a serious risk that he would resume violence," Engelmayer concluded.