The Setup

Chris Butler wanted to be a media celebrity and a badass, until he made what turned out to be a big mistake. He asked Diablo to write about him.



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Not only was the Diablo ride-along case of September 11, 2010, completely fraudulent, but the ride-along section of the feature story in the March 15, 2010, issue of People and at least part of the June 1, 2010, episode of Screen grab from Butler's website featuring the June 1, 2010 appearance on Dr. PhilDr. Phil were also fake. Even the Contra Costa Times story of June 13, 2010—the one that prompted The Client to hire Butler and Associates to sting her real boyfriend—begins like this: “The philandering husband leaves home in a black Mustang on a Thursday night with his wife, confident that neither she nor his mistress are onto him.” Hmmm.

Butler’s serial media whoring seems petty compared to the 28 felony counts brought against him and Wielsch. But it was this wildly megalomaniacal habit of staging elaborate hoaxes to be seen as a badass—while trying to play Scarface off camera—that proved to be the kindling for Butler’s eventual ash heap of a reputation, as well as his catastrophic legal demise. Even after he was behind bars, Butler’s sociopathic behavior continued to terrify me.

Reading through the egregious charges brought on Butler and Wielsch—which included selling quantities of marijuana, anabolic steroids, prescription Xanax, and that societal scourge, crystal methamphetamine—I realized something was missing: There were no explosives charges. My stomach flipped as I wondered what Butler had done with the C-4 and if it was out there in our community, ready to detonate.

I fired off an e-mail to R. Rutherford and asked if the C-4 turned up when the Department of Justice sealed and searched Butler’s warehouse and office. R. Rutherford replied:

“I asked the DOJ about that. It was still there, but it turns out it wasn’t C-4—it was duct sealant. Butler thought it was C-4, though, and I have no doubt he would have sold it if he thought he could get some money for it.”

Another e-mail from R. Rutherford let me know that Butler had originally approached R. Rutherford about selling stolen drugs in November 2010. R. Rutherford had sent the e-mail about my fake ride-along to see if I could be trusted with more sensitive information. When I proved trustworthy, R. Rutherford asked for my help. “I am not a drug dealer, and I hate the position that I have been put in,” R. Rutherford wrote. “I owe you a lot just for listening and believing.”

While writing this story, I met some truly horrible people, others who were extremely deceitful but probably not malicious, and some basically decent people who made mistakes of judgment while hoping for 15 minutes of fame. I will forever be grateful to those who demonstrated true decency and exhibited strength and courage when faced with the evil that some men do. My law enforcement contact Cortez, and the California Department of Justice agents who oversaw the investigation of Butler and Wielsch, are on the top of that list. Although their identities need to remain anonymous, I can assure you that they are genuine heroes in our community. I should buy them a thank-you gift, possibly some nice jewelry. I know a place up in Napa that sells stuff at 80 percent off.

Wielsch and ButlerChris Butler during filming of the reality show will next appear in court on April 21 to set a preliminary hearing date. Each man could face more than 25 years in prison for the 28 felony counts brought against him. Meanwhile, Butler’s dream of becoming a reality show star is dead. I received a voicemail from Lifetime Television saying, “Just wanted to let you know that any plans for the P.I. Moms show have been cancelled. There will be no show.”

Butler did, however, always want to be featured in Diablo magazine. So, at least that happened.
We even put him on the cover.  ■

Diablo senior editor/senior writer Peter Crooks is on vacation in an undisclosed location.

 

 

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