KINGMAN — Several issues remain to be argued in the case of a Wikieup man accused of firing a gun at four kayakers last year.
Danny Eugene Button, 68, is charged with attempted second-degree murder, four counts of aggravated assault, four counts of disorderly conduct with a weapon, four counts of endangerment and three counts of kidnapping.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppmann said there are just a few interviews still to conduct, which will be done this week and he will be ready for trial. He has subpoenaed about a dozen witnesses for trial.
Schoppmann also said several issues still need to be addressed, including a prior act where Button allegedly threatened other kayakers about a week before the shooting. Other issues include the right to float versus trespassing.
Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert affirmed Button’s week-long trial to begin Feb. 27. Lambert set a status hearing for Feb. 21 to argue any last-minute motions including the issue of Button’s prior acts.
Button allegedly shot at the four kayaks as they paddled down Burro Creek on Feb. 4, 2017, near Wikieup. One of the kayakers previously testified that he heard a shot and saw Button, holding .44-caliber revolver on the riverbank, fire several shots at the lead kayaker, who fled downstream.
Button reportedly threatened the kayaker that he was not going to miss and that he was going to get his rifle. Button also allegedly pointed his gun at the three other kayakers, later holding them at gunpoint on shore until he finally told them to leave.
At a previous hearing, Schoppmann argued that boaters or kayakers can float down a stream or river without trespassing on private property that borders or includes the stream. A stream or river is considered a public easement and all water rights belong to the public.
A former Superior Court judge ruled that the kayakers did not trespass while floating down Burro Creek. An Arizona appellate court vacated that ruling in September in a special action filed by Button’s attorney. Button’s wife and her family own the property on each side of Burro Creek.