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Tests Link Fatal Bullet to Recovered Gun

A criminalist testified in a preliminary hearing Wednesday that the bullet that struck San Diego Police Officer Jerry Hartless in the head came from a gun linked to murder suspect Stacy Butler.

Eugene Wolberg, who works for the San Diego Police Department, said the bullet recovered from the forehead of Hartless had markings consistent with a gun that was recovered from under a lemon tree, where it was allegedly placed after Butler asked an acquaintance to get rid of it.

The acquaintance, Willie Godine, testified earlier in the hearing before Municipal Judge Robert Stahl that Butler gave him a .22-caliber and a .38-caliber gun, and that he hid them under the tree behind a house in Southeast San Diego.

Wolberg testified that the bullet came from the .22-caliber weapon and that the other gun had not been fired recently.

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Deputy District Atty. Charles Rogers described Wolberg’s testimony as “a real important link in the chain.”

Hartless, 24, was shot Jan. 9 after chasing a suspect on foot in an area said by police to be known for drug dealing. He was found in the 5000 block of Manomet Street by his partner, who could not identify Butler as the man Hartless was pursuing.

Hartless was in a coma until Jan. 31, when he died. Butler, 25, was arrested at a nearby house the night of the shooting.

Larry Fregia, an evidence technician, testified that he took hand swabs of Butler shortly after he was arrested. An FBI technician is scheduled to testify about any evidence gained from the swabs. A pathologist is also scheduled to testify.

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