Antionette Fortune

Antionette Fortune, 31, went to trial Thursday in connection with the 2011 killing of her boyfriend in their 7th Ward home. (OPSO)

OPSO

A woman who shot her boyfriend in the head heard a vengeful speech from the victim’s mother Friday before she was sentenced to spend 25 years in prison.

The mother of Brandon Butler, who was killed by Antionette Fortune in 2011 after a dispute inside their 7th Ward home, told the court that she hopes Fortune’s remaining years are ugly and few.

“I hope that every day you encounter chaos, restlessness and betrayal. I honestly hope that each day of your life is worse than the day before. I hope that you never have any peace. And in the end I hope that your life is taken by someone you trusted,” Antoinette Butler said.

Orleans Parish Criminal District Court jurors voted 10-2 in September to convict Fortune of manslaughter. Her sentencing hearing on Friday was a stormy affair that featured Old Testament-style invocations for vengeance from Butler’s family. In response, Fortune’s defense attorney accused Butler’s family of failing as Christians.

Ad hoc Judge Donald T. Johnson rendered his sentence, which will be served without an opportunity for parole, while noting that the jury had found manslaughter as the appropriate charge. Fortune faced a sentencing range of between 20 and 80 years.

Detectives said that Fortune, 31, fired two rounds at her boyfriend inside their home on Dec. 26, 2011. One of them struck Butler in the back of his head.

Fortune told police at first that Butler had stumbled into their house after being shot on the street. But when investigators confronted her with the fact that two shell casings were found inside their house, she confessed to the shooting.

Fortune told police that she shot Butler after he grabbed her between the legs and put his hands around her neck. When she took the stand at her trial in September, she claimed that the gun went off by accident because she thought the safety was on.

"My plan was never to shoot," she said.

The confrontation inside the house started when Butler accused her of infidelity because he heard a notification of a tweet on her phone, Fortune said. Earlier in the day Butler had discovered racy Twitter messages from another man on her phone, she said.

At the sentencing hearing on Friday, Butler’s mother read from a sheaf of papers as she addressed the court about her son’s longtime girlfriend.

Antoinette Butler said she gave Fortune a job and a place to live, but in the end her kindness was returned with a vicious act.

“This murderer is not remorseful at all. She is no victim; she’s a predator,” Butler said. “You called and called him knowing you were luring him to his death. I will never be OK with that.”

Butler also alleged that after the killing Fortune dragged her son’s name through the mud by identifying him as the aggressor in their fight.

“I decided to speak because Brandon can’t. I decided to speak because I don’t want you to assume how I feel. I want it to be clear that I hate you. I have no respect for you, your lawyers or your mother,” Butler said. “I will be around for any motion hearing, panel or review that you’ll get. I want you incarcerated until my son returns from the grave.”

More angry words came from Butler’s aunt, Shelia Cheneau. She asserted that the killing happened because Butler was trying to leave Fortune.

“He did not deserve to have his young life taken away simply because he didn’t want Miss Fortune anymore,” Cheneau said. “When you take your last breath on this earth, I hope that you burn in the fiery pits of hell for all eternity, and then our mission will be accomplished.”

Although Fortune blamed Butler for the shooting at her trial, she apologized at the sentencing hearing for what happened.

“A life was permanently taken, and families are torn apart. This is not what I envisioned for my life,” Fortune said. “I never wanted any of this. The death, the hate, the backlash — none of the heartbreak and grief, and I just ask that you have mercy on me.”

However, when Fortune’s attorney addressed the judge he took a more aggressive tone in dismissing the Butler family’s cries for vengeance.

Investigators discovered an assault rifle stashed in Butler's car, lawyer John Fuller said.

“As a Christian, the last thing I would ever think that I would want is this person spending eternity in hell … that’s totally improper,” Fuller said. “The same persons that you heard from, who told you how innocent Brandon is, are the same persons that said they want her to die, be murdered in jail. And you know what, the apple don’t fall far from the tree.”

Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter, @mgsledge.

msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432