Latest News

Modestan to stand trial in ex's shooting death

A Modesto man will stand trial on charges of shooting to death his former girlfriend as her husband and son watched nearby, according to the Stanislaus County district attorney's office.

Christopher Rabbiosi, 37, was charged with premeditated murder and personally and intentionally discharging a firearm, causing death.

Authorities said Rabbiosi shot Shawnee Butler, 43, of Empire, on Sept. 19, 2008, in north Modesto. Butler was critically injured and taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she died a month later.

Rabbiosi was being held Friday at Stanislaus County Jail. His bail was set at $2 million.

A preliminary hearing was held Monday in the case. The judge ruled that Rabbiosi will face a jury trial, the district attorney said Thursday. Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Owen is prosecuting the case.

A trial date will be scheduled at an arraignment hearing Jan. 11.

The shooting occurred about 12:30 a.m. in the 3900 block of Dragoo Park Drive, near Coralwood Road several blocks north of Sylvan Avenue.

Rabbiosi arranged to meet Butler to pay back a debt. Before Butler left to meet with him, she told her husband to be concerned if he didn't hear from her in 30 minutes, prosecutors said.

About two hours passed, and Butler's husband and son became concerned when they did not hear from her. They drove to the area where Rabbiosi's mother lived.

Rabbiosi and Butler were seen talking in Butler's parked vehicle on Dragoo Park. Once Butler's husband parked his vehicle in front of her vehicle, Rabbiosi shot Butler, prosecutors said.

Rabbiosi then got out of the car, prosecutors said, and he chased Butler's husband and son while threatening them with the gun. A nearby resident called 911, and Rabbiosi ran away.

After the shooting, detectives called Rabbiosi and asked him to come down to the Modesto Police Department. Police said Rabbiosi drove to police headquarters and turned himself in to detectives about 6:15 a.m.

Prosecutors said Rabbiosi brought the gun with him to the Police Department.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at or 578-2394.