Shawn and Dashawn Butler, the 19-year-old entrepreneurs arrested recently for criminal trespassing with no little fanfare for what Harris County deputies say was an unsanctioned attempt to put on a party on someone else's property in Huffman, say the allegations against them are bogus.
In a story so bizarre that it has the ring of truth because who could make this stuff up, Shawn told Hair Balls that he and his twin had an agreement with the owner of the property to put on the party in exchange for $150.
And that their negotiator in this deal was a 15-year-old friend of theirs who was also a friend of the owner's family. And that the whole thing started with a Craigslist ad offering the property for sale.
Also according to Shawn:
-- They had the agreement of the property owner to cut the lock on the fence on his property because it wasn't supposed to be there. In fact, he told them to use bolt cutters.
-- They had already had a party on that property a few weeks before and because they had done such a good job cleaning up and there had been no trouble, they were allowed back.
-- It was Shawn's idea, not the Harris County Sheriff's Office's, for him to post on Facebook warning potential partygoers away once they'd been arrested and the second party was going to be shut down. The SO wanted to arrest everyone who showed up. Shawn argued that the "smart" people who checked in on Facebook should be warned and then the deputies could just arrest the "ignorant" ones who didn't read his Facebook page.
-- The "No trespassing" signs that Channel 2 and other TV stations pointed out in their subsequent broadcasts as proof the Butler boys had no business there, had been placed there by Shawn and Dashawn and their ground crew.
"I live an hour away from the party. The officers assume I just randomly found a piece of land in Huffman and just randomly went up -- which is not what happened," said Shawn, a community college student who hails from Pearland. "We wanted to do parties just for fun. No alcohol, no drugs. Only thing provided is staging, lights, sound, tents, food," Shawn said. "What people bring to the parties and what people do, we can't stop that."
They held their first party on the same Huffman property on September 15, Shawn said. He has a six- to eight-person crew handling food, security and parking. They paid $150 for use of the land and about 750 people showed up. Admission was free to girls before 11 p.m. and $10 each afterwards, he said. Guys paid $10 before 11 and $15 each after.
"No law enforcement was called out. It ended around 4 a.m. We cleaned up," Shawn said. Having met all the terms of their original agreement, Shawn said the deal was made to hold a second party.
"The second party was supposed to be September 29, but it was raining that day and the cold front came in. So we pushed it back a week [to October 6]," he said. By that time, Humble ISD and the sheriff's department were on alert thanks to what was, at least in retrospect, a tactical error on the part of the Butler brothers.
Shawn and Dashawn had hired a professional photographer to videotape the first party. The video got more than 9,000 pageviews and came to the attention of the Humble ISD, which in turn contacted the sheriff's department.
According to Shawn: "In that video nobody's drinking; nobody's doing anything illegal. They're just dancing and having a good time." (Checking for accuracy now would be difficult. "All videos are now down due to the circumstances," Shawn told us.)
Fairly certain that drugs and drinking were part of the party experience, deputies moved in to stop any encore performance.
Shawn and his brother had arrived at the ranch property with their 15-year-old friend to find a lock on the gate. They called the owner, who Shawn says told them it shouldn't be there and to use some bolt cutters to cut it open. "We cut that lock. If he said there's not supposed to be no lock on the gate, us cutting it shouldn't be a problem," Shawn said with lawyerlike reasoning. "And then he said: 'Once you come on the property, I want you to stay out of the workers' way because they're mowing.' But they were mowing for our party the next day because I had requested that our property be mowed.
"Nobody goes out there and mows a two-mile-by-one-mile piece of land for fun. Before the last party, he even said, 'If you pay $150 and y'all clean up, then y'all can use the ranch the next time you have an event,'" Shawn said.
But they were stopped by deputies and arrested when they left the property. Deputies called the owner, who denied the deal or any knowledge of their activities. Insisting they don't promote drugs or alcohol, Sean acknowledged that "what people bring to the parties and what people do at the parties, we can't stop that. It's too many people."
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He and his brother had a court appearance last Friday, and he said their case has been rescheduled for sometime in the future. He didn't say when and he wouldn't reveal his lawyer, deciding some things are best kept to himself.