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Paul Tripp Sentenced to Two Years in Valerie Butler Case

Florissant resident Paul Tripp got that sentence for abandonment of a corpse, which is an addition to his previous five-year sentence.

Almost one year to the day that , the man responsible for dumping her body in a field in Bridgeton has been sentenced.

St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Steven Goldman sentenced Florissant resident Paul Tripp to two years in prison for abandoning Butler’s body early last year.

More than 10 people, including her fiancé, family and friends, gathered in the back of the courtroom wearing “In Loving Memory of Valerie Butler” T-shirts to hear the sentence Friday morning.

Butler’s cousin, Jessica Francis, spoke on behalf of her family to the judge before he carried out sentencing.

“Valerie was an amazing person,” she said to the judge. “She was not a piece of garbage. She did not deserve to be left in a field face down.”

Goldman said Tripp wrote a letter to him to say that he had intentions to change his life, and he requested probation for the charge. However, he did not feel comfortable in giving probation for the felony charge, and sentenced Tripp to two years in prison.

were found at , a local bar on North Lindbergh. Her body was discovered about three weeks later on March 3 in a field in Bridgeton.

Butler’s family said following the hearing that they remain without closure.

“We didn’t get to say goodbye,” Francis said through streaming tears. “He couldn’t even say sorry.”

Vickie Butler, Valerie’s mom, said, “I think it’s unfair. I think he should have gotten more time. I believe there is a higher power that will get him.”

Valerie’s family has begun to take further action to prevent further deaths such as this.

Ed McCann, a friend of the family, carried a sign regarding “Valerie’s Law” to the courtroom. He said that it would give a higher penalty when there is drug-induced bodily harm or death involved in a case. He said that they’re currently working to speak to their legislator regarding the law.

Jean Whitney February 10, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Who killed her?
Ed McCann February 10, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Thank you so much for helping us keep this story out there, Aja. If this case would have been tried in Illinois, just ten miles away, he would have been charged with MURDER. Illinois has Kelley's Law, under which involvement in drug-induced death can result in charges up to and including murder ... but Missouri has no such law. And it's only worse for Missouri, because there's a Federal law that does the same thing, but the Federal prosecutor in Missouri obviously places no value on human life. The Federal prosecutor on the Illinois side of the river has already charged TWELVE people under the same law, and is prosecuting them ALL. Missouri judges and prosecutors, you need to pull your heads out of you as*, and PROTECT YOUR CITIZENS!
RM February 11, 2012 at 12:17 AM
For what it's worth, unconfirmed rumor has it that Valerie Butler and Paul Tripp were both drug users partying that night. Valerie died of self induced over dose and Paul dumped the body in a field to get rid of it and not be associated.
AMH February 11, 2012 at 05:47 AM
5 years for a drug charge but only 2 for dumping a body? WOW!!
Ed McCann February 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Paul Tripp killed her, Jean. And RM, it's important to keep "unconfirmed rumor" separate from fact: 1. Valerie Butler was NOT a heroin user.All of us that were there at the sentencing were the same people that knew Val and were with her every day. We would have been the ones to know if she was a user, because there is no hiding a heroin addiction or even use from the ones that love and spend time with you. 2. It was well known to the police that Paul Tripp obtained the heroin that was in her system, this was confirmed by several witnesses. This was only ONE of the reasons his parole was revoked on his prior drug conviction, which is why he was re-arrested and has been incarcerated since March of last year. 3. Numerous witnesses in the investigation attested that Paul was driving all around town while Valerie was dying in the passenger seat of his car. One of the witnesses even confirmed that he drove her to one of his family member's houses to get advice on what he should do ... and the advice was, "You can either take her to the emergency room, in which case you'll probably be arrested, or you can get rid of her." There's never been any question as to which of the two options he chose ... he threw her face-down in a field, to lay there for three weeks while all loved ones searched for her. He pled guilty to that charge. And then he went to Southern California for vacation and a better drug connection. RM, if you want to debate "rumors", I can
Ed McCann February 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM
...and the saddest part of the whole thing, except for Val's death is, as AMH commented, "5 years for a drug charge butonly 2 for dumping a body?" This is a legal FARCE! Judge Steven Goldman should be sanctioned by all his peers in the judiciary! During the sentencing, the judge spoke of a letter that Paul Tripp sent to him, telling of his attempts to become a better citizen. Oh yeah, that's how it's done ... dump a body, then find a better connection. The last words out of the judge's mouth were, "Good luck to you, Paul Tripp." The judge didn't even wish any such sentiment to Val's family and friendscrowded into the courtroom. And when the sentence was announced, Paul Tripp simply smirked at everyone in Val's contingent.
RM February 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Ed....I'm not going to argue with you over something that I don't know. I clearly stated that it was an unconfirmed rumor for Jean who asked a question in hopes that it would spark a response with some facts, which evidently worked. I said nothing about heroin, (perhaps your conscience) but It is clear that you were a friend and are hurting, however, he has not been charged with murder and perhaps you should inform the police and prosecutors of all your solid evidence. I wish you peace.
stacey s February 12, 2012 at 09:37 PM
R.I.P. Val, you were a good girl and didnt deserve any of this... The piece of trash that is getting away with leaving val has only 2 years of punishnent in jail but will have to live with what he did forever and eternity with the real judgement of god. I am so sorry for Val's families loss. I knew her for a couple years and spent a bit of time with her. She was beautiful, kind, and im sure not a drug user. Nor did she deserve to be left in need of help regardless the situation she was in that night. My heart still and always go out to val and her family.
DLue March 09, 2012 at 06:06 PM
AMH, Amen to that ~ WOW THAT DOESN'T EVEN COVER IT! Can't even believe it! :(
David Strathman April 25, 2012 at 05:45 AM
Why was this drug dealer Paul Tripp not charged with 1st degree Manslaughter; or at least convicted for 2nd degree manslaughter. Where is this worldly justice system become?
David Strathman April 25, 2012 at 05:54 AM
In pursuit of heavier penalty - sentence guideline when a crime of providing or directly causing ones drug inducement leading to death, free will or not; there needs be serious changes in the law fitting charges made against these type drug dealers. 2 years plus 5 for breaking probation - this breaking probation lead to this young ladies death should result in additional charge of 1st, 2nd degree manslaughter charge. With what he did, how can a jury not find this criminal not guilty? What is wrong with our local prosecutors today?
L.J. October 10, 2012 at 07:25 AM
The first time Val and I met we sang Material Girl by Madonna together. I still cry everytime I hear that song and refuse to ever sing it again. Val had an amazing soul, was smart and gorgeous. She turned every head just by walking trough a door. I love and miss you Val!!!! R.I.P. I am sorry I wasnt with you! To Val's family I am so sorry for yur lose. I know nothing I or anyone says will bring her back or confort you again, but I hope you all dont forget to remember the good times with Val and can smile again. She will always be with you in your hearts and in spirit. GOD bless you! I could not imagine losing my son and I dont want to ever have to feel that pain. I am sorry you all have to. To Paul Tripp I hope you rotten in hell!!!!!!!!! Val aint the one who deserved to be face down in a field. You deserve to be torchered slowly and with as much pain as possible without killing you and then hung!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your a sorry pos! GOD will judge you and I hope he sends you straight to hell and lets you suffer eternity for what you did and I hope its worse then what you did to Valorie! To Missouri and any other state that is not going to rule a case like this as murder and the judges wont should be kicked off the map an hung. What if it was your child, relative or friend? Are you that ignorant? GOD will judge you all too! Hope he rules that your just as guilty as Tripp you heartless sob's!
Ed McCann October 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Unfortunately, L.J., Paul is already back out on the streets again, barely 7 months after being sentenced to two years for dumping Val's body, AND five years for the drug charge he was sentenced to only 60 days prior to killing Val and dumping her body. That's Missouri's "system of justice" ... get sentenced to seven years, go to a cushy rehab for seven months. Something is insanely wrong with this picture. And does anyone really think that Paul Tripp isn't already doing the same things he was doing before he killed Val?!? He worked the system, and the system failed us all.
john hancock January 11, 2013 at 05:11 AM
he's been released
Alyssa January 28, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Ed McCann - heroin is a beast but as big as it is, it is VERY easy to hide. I hid for 2 years and no one even suspected it. An addict is an addict is an addict. As beautiful and kind as she was, that was not her first time using heroin. Heroin is a beast and denial is too.
mandy costa April 07, 2013 at 06:25 AM
Valerie I miss u and I would give anything to take that night back. It makes me so sad because she ddint deserve that. I love u and I wish I could bring u back but I know urban watching over me
Ed McCann April 12, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Alyssa, you are totally naive, and are only fooling yourself if you really believe that heroin use is so easy to hide from those that love you and see you every day. By your own words, you say that "no one even suspected it". How can that be true ... when you obtained it from someone, you used it with someone, and you ran in circles with others who did the same? No one even suspected?!? You must be referring to those in your family, your mom, your dad, your brothers and/or sisters, the people who would close their eyes to it if they even suspected it. Val had MANY friends who spent time with her EVERY day, and we are the ones who would know. And we are not those who are so blinded by love that we would choose to turn a blind eye. Val was not a heroin user, nor addict, and I challenge you to prove me wrong. Did you even know her? Did you spend time with her EVERY day? Your own statement says, "I hid for two years and no one even suspected it." How untrue is that? You obtained it from people, you used with people, and you ran in a circle of users. Did they suspect it? So your statement is blatantly wrong in the first place, and you are very likely speaking about someone who you don't even know. Please leave the judgments to those who KNOW and are not simply putting an uninformed opinion out there. Thanks.
Ed McCann April 12, 2013 at 12:19 PM
You may not be able to take that night back, Mandy, but there is a hearing for Paul Tripp at 9:00 AM on April 25th in the St. Louis County Courts, regarding his involvement in the 130+ MPH high-speed chase and crash which represents his FOURTH charge for DUI ... and this all happened within days of his release from prison for his involvement in Val's death and another drug-dealing charge, charges for which he was sentenced to no less than seven years and he served less than six months. Our judicial system is a total mess, and Paul Tripp has been given more than ample opportunity to redeem himself and/or turn his life around. If you want to support Val, we will be there in court for Paul's next hearing. And Val will be there with us <3
Carrie Miskell April 26, 2013 at 05:31 AM
i'm so glad i found out what his "abandonment of corpse" charge was all about. RIP Val. so sorry for her families loss. i never knew her. i talked to him online i usually run people on case net right away but not until i found out he got locked up a few months ago and ran across the abandonment of corpse charge. that right there told me to stay the hell away from him. i was wondering how in the world someone gets a charge like that. thanks for clarifying.
Carrie Miskell April 26, 2013 at 05:35 AM
He should've at least taken her to the emergency room she could've possibly still been here today. yes he would have possibly gotten arrested but he still got arrested anyways
Ed McCann May 03, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, Carrie. We still miss Val and the light she brought to the world ... and think about her every single day <3
Ed McCann May 03, 2013 at 12:13 PM
And the good news is, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has now assigned a Court Monitoring Project Specialist to watch over the court as Paul Tripp faces his latest charges ... his 5th DUI, with a high-speed chase at over 130 MPH, resisting arrest, and endangering the public. With his now-extensive criminal record and piling on the history of suspended sentences, it is very unlikely that he will get just another slap on the wrist ... because MADD will be looking over the Judge's shoulder this time :)
Ed McCann May 03, 2013 at 12:17 PM
And the reason he didn't take her to the emergency room, Carrie, is that he was involved in criminal activity at the time he was killing and dumping her ... she hadn't seen him for over seven years since high school, and she replied to a Facebook message from him to have a drink and catch up ... and she was dead two days later. The man is a criminal, and intended to harm her.
Carrie Miskell May 05, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Good they need to help get him locked up for a long time. He has a major drug and alcohol problem. He only cares about himself if that with the highly excessive speeding, drugs and alcohol. I've been watching case net. I see why he didn't take her to the emergency room but he still got an abandonment of corpse charge of course with the slap on the wrist.
Carrie Miskell May 05, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Well since he has been released for time served on the small stuff I don't see him making it to his arraignment since he doesn't care obviously about getting in trouble. They may want to get the warrant ready. He must like being in jail.
Geri Greene May 24, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Please continue to update us regarding upcoming events and the history of how this is all in process. To have scum like this running free is a mockery of all of what drug education is about.
Carrie Miskell May 25, 2013 at 08:59 PM
arraignment this Wed. hopefully this week it doesn't get continued again.

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