Heidi Butler

Heidi Butler, 38, of Sonora, was arrested Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, on suspicion of solicitation to commit murder.

A Sonora nurse accused of a murder-for-hire plot appeared in a video arraignment in Tuolumne County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon, but did not enter a plea.

Heidi Butler, 38, of Sonora, has not yet found an attorney to represent her, according to Tuolumne County Deputy District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke.

Butler has requested the public defender be appointed, and her financial declaration will be evaluated by Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Kate Powell Segerstrom before a further arraignment hearing on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

Jenecke described Butler as not a typical public defender client because it is believed she is a homeowner and was gainfully employed as a nurse. 

Jenecke said a determination will likely be made on her representation Wednesday and she will enter a plea on another date.

"We're all in kind of a holding pattern until then," Jenecke said. 

The criminal complaint filed against Butler by the District Attorney’s Office accuses her of soliciting someone to commit murder on approximately Aug. 30.

Jenecke described the alleged crime as "multiple acts over a series of days."

Butler was arrested Friday night at her home on Woodduck Lane in Sonora following the execution of a search warrant there.

Law enforcement officials have not released information regarding who Butler is suspected to have solicited or the intended target. 

Tuolumne County Sheriff's Deputy Niccoli Sandelin said Monday the Sheriff's Office is not currently seeking any other suspect involved with the case.

The alleged crime was tipped to the Sheriff's Office by the FBI, and Butler was investigated over approximately two weeks before her arrest. 

A Facebook page for Heidi Butler of Sonora that appears to belong to the same woman listed her occupation as “Registered Nurse (RN) at Adventist Health Sonora.”

Karen O' Brien, the hospital’s spokeswoman, said she could not release information on Butler's employment status because it is an ongoing investigation. 

Butler has an active and current license which was issued in 2005 and expires in 2021, according to the Board of Registered Nursing. There are no records of disciplinary action against the license. 

Butler remains in the custody of the Tuolumne County Jail with a bail amount of $1 million. 

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at gricapito@uniondemocrat.net or (209) 588-4526.

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