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The Bravest Woman in Seattle
June 22, 2011 3:53 PM   Subscribe

The Bravest Woman in Seattle "The reason for her sitting on the witness stand of a packed and sweltering eighth-floor courtroom at the King County Courthouse on June 8, in jeans and a short-sleeved black blouse, hands clasped over knees, a jury of strangers taking notes, a crowd of family and friends and strangers observing, a bunch of media recording, was to say: This happened to me. You must listen. This happened to us. You must hear who was lost. You must hear what he did. You must hear how Teresa fought him. You must hear what I loved about her. You must know what he took from us. This happened." (Trigger warning for rape and violence.)
posted by verbyournouns (86 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
With the article tastefully wrapped around dating adverts on the left hand side...
posted by MattWPBS at 3:59 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I could only read the first paragraph or two.

I was called to jury duty a couple of months ago and it was a molestation/statutory rape case. I didn't get picked, but I did get a revelation of just how incredibly, incredibly difficult it would be to be a victim, in a courtroom.


Which is probably one reason I could only go as far as that first paragraph. The word "brave" doesn't even begin to describe the strength it would take for that woman to testify.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


That story was absolutely heartrending, but I'm glad you shared it.
posted by Safiya at 4:20 PM on June 22, 2011


She spoke of the perfect ordinariness of their last days together.

This made me want to throw up. It reminds me how much energy I've spent over the years deliberately, then subconsciously, suppressing thoughts and fears of being raped, of enduring (or not) this kind of attack. I could hardly bear to read it. But if she lived through it, I could read about it.
posted by rtha at 4:24 PM on June 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


I would highly reccomend also reading this piece from 2009 about the killer's path in and out of the mental health and criminal justice systems.

People knew he was violent, dangerous, and crazy. The system failed to protect the innocent from him. If there is any good that can possibly come out of this horrific crime, it might involve a public conversation about how this happened, and could happen again.
posted by chaff at 4:32 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was an incredibly difficult read, but thanks for posting it, verbyournouns.

Also from The Stranger: The Mind of Kalebu.
posted by evoque at 4:32 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is a powerful story some context would have made it even more so (thanks, chaff!). But, "trigger" warnings now? Really? This has been adopted?
posted by mikoroshi at 4:38 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


But, "trigger" warnings now? Really? This has been adopted?

It's not official. You're not a bad person if you don't use them. You're not a good person if you do. Use them if you want.
posted by Errant at 4:40 PM on June 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


But, "trigger" warnings now? Really? This has been adopted?

God forbid we give people with PTSD issues and the like a heads up.

Why would that line even bother you?
posted by Stunt at 4:41 PM on June 22, 2011 [64 favorites]


I read this last night. It gave me nightmares, and I woke up still thinking about it. It's an elegant recounting of a horrifying crime, very hard to read, but I'm glad it's out there.
posted by headspace at 4:43 PM on June 22, 2011


I would suggest the word "rape" be replaced with "sexual assault".
posted by KokuRyu at 4:44 PM on June 22, 2011


I read this article in my office last week at work. Barely made it to the restroom in time to vomit. Barely sleeping at night since I read it.

The man who committed the crime attempted suicide again today in his cell. Last week he swallowed a golf pencil and had to be taken to Harborview, I'm not sure what he did today but it's like his third suicide attempt since he's been locked up for this. And just yesterday, his defense team announced that they're not going with a diminished capacity defense. They're going with "general denial", in other words, "I wasn't there, you have to prove it." I kind of think when you leave bucketloads of your DNA inside your victims and all over the crime scene, that's a bullshit line of defense.

At this point I just want them to keep him alive long enough to convict him. After that I hope he fucking chokes on prison loaf.

I didn't know Teresa Butz or her partner, but I think of them every day. Every single day.

But, "trigger" warnings now? Really? This has been adopted?

mikoroshi, I live in the city where this happened. I've known about the crime since it happened, but every other news account limits their descriptions to "prolonged sexual assault" or just plain "rape". That doesn't really make clear what level of hell these women endured that night. This article lays it all bare, as bare as it can be laid without violating obscenity laws, I'd imagine. Ever since I read it, I can't be alone at night in my 2nd story apartment in a secured building without jumping out of my skin at every sudden noise. Last night the buzzer went off on my dryer signaling the end of a load, and it startled me so badly that I peed my pants. I actually lost control of my bladder, I was so spooked.

So I'm sorry that the use of the words "trigger warning" offends you so deeply, but frankly, get the fuck over it. If it doesn't trigger a bad reaction in you, that's great, but it triggered the shit out of me and I've never been raped. I can't imagine what a rape survivor would feel after reading that. Can you? Maybe you should try it.
posted by palomar at 4:49 PM on June 22, 2011 [61 favorites]


[please take trigger warning discussion to MeTa if you need to. Thre is no policy about trigger warnings, some people use them, others do not.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


.
posted by pyramid termite at 4:56 PM on June 22, 2011


jesus christ, that was hard to read. I can't say anything about this that won't come out fighty and full of hate and derail this in bad ways, so instead I will just say

.
posted by elizardbits at 5:00 PM on June 22, 2011


I too read this article during my lunch break at work last week, and wound up crying in the bathroom and shaking too hard to answer the phone for at least an hour afterward. The fact that there are more details too horrible to include in this already horrifying account has given me nightmares, too.

I wish I hadn't read the article, but I concur with the "bravest woman in Seattle" title, and I think Eli Sanders has done some really eloquent, thoughtful reporting on this whole awful saga. In some ways, reading her story has given me a certain strength, just knowing a woman of such courage and grace lives here, somewhere in the same city as me.
posted by adiabat at 5:02 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is so sickening that I really wish I hadn't read it, but I certainly also agree that the survivor deserves a fucking medal for being able to testify rather than collapsing in a heap. I could barely talk about it without crying after reading about the experience.
posted by RogerB at 5:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thank you for the trigger warning as I am a victim of rape. I still read it and made me incredibly sad for those women.

No one should ever have to go through something that horrific. That man deserves his punishment and then some.

My heart aches for them and everyone else who has to endure this type of awful.
posted by Sweetmag at 5:04 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am torn between reading it because of the bravery involved, and leaving it because I've read enough terribly depressing things today/lately/this year. I think I am probably going to leave it this time, but I appreciate you others who didn't.
posted by Glinn at 5:07 PM on June 22, 2011


Oh my god
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:14 PM on June 22, 2011


That was rough. I'm sorry that these things happen.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:14 PM on June 22, 2011


Damn. There is a lesson to be learned, for those willing to read it—the part where he decided what he was going to do to them and the woman's initial disbelief. It's human nature, I suppose, to hope for the best, and look for the reassurances that everything is going to be OK. But you read about things like this and you realize it's not going to be OK unless you do something about it. Her partner saved her life by fighting.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:14 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So is the best advice "always fight", or is it "do what they say"?
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2011


Nightmare material, and this stuff happens every goddamn day. I'm overwhelmed by the strength and courage of both victims. I'm having more trouble reconciling what to do in reaction to this. For now, as on most nights, I'm watching my children fall asleep.
posted by Songdog at 5:25 PM on June 22, 2011


tumid dahlia, I think the best advice is "do what you have to do to stay alive." There have been plenty of people commenting on the local newspaper websites about this case -- lots of people feel like it's okay to blame these women for not fighting back right from the beginning, or not having a gun tucked under their pillows. It reeks of victim-blaming. It's very easy to say, "I'd fight back if I were being raped," but no one really knows what they'll do in a situation like this until they're in the thick of it.

I do tend to notice the "why didn't they fight back?" usually comes from men. Just as a point of reference, Isaiah Kalebu is approximately 5 foot 11, and pretty muscular. I was not able to easily find an exact height for Teresa Butz, but I found a photo of her standing next to her brother, award-winning actor Norman Leo Butz. She was at least three or four inches shorter than her brother, and he is 5 foot 7 inches tall.
posted by palomar at 5:30 PM on June 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


Civil_Disobedient But you read about things like this and you realize it's not going to be OK unless you do something about it.

With the greatest respect, I don't think you have clue one what you're talking about when you make a blanket statement like that. Compliance can keep assaults from escalating in some circumstances but it's really a judgement call and one you absolutely cannot make until you are in the moment. While I am not disputing that her partner saved this woman's life by fighting, that is not a universally recommended course of action.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:31 PM on June 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


There is a lesson to be learned, for those willing to read it

I'm not sure that's the lesson to take from this story or if there's a lesson here at all. This was a terrible and random crime by a man who was mentally ill. I don't think there's a right or wrong reaction for victims of this sort of thing and it would be impossible to know what could get a different outcome, if it's even a possibility. I am not sure what to take from this story other than feelings of disgust and sorrow.
posted by Hoopo at 5:36 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am also trying to figure out what to take from this, beyond the knowledge that terrible things happen to people. There is no single prescription for safety that would have saved these women and will also save the next woman who has something terrible happen.
.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:43 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I took from it is: don't be ashamed. No it doesn't stop it from happening in the first place, but it stops the silence afterwards.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:50 PM on June 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


I started this the other day, then had to stop because I was crying at work. Her bravery in the face of the awful things that bastard put her through is inspirational.

.
posted by lumpenprole at 5:51 PM on June 22, 2011


Well said, Hoopo. What, if anything, is the lesson? "Take care of each other" has been my most salient impulse. I suspect that providing good, effective mental health services and care may be the most important thing we can do to reduce this specific type of assault — home invasion and rape by a violently unbalanced person. But this must be awfully infrequent compared to, say, rape by [hitherto] loved ones (or soldiers). So it's still "take care of each other" for me.
posted by Songdog at 5:54 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


..
posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:01 PM on June 22, 2011


Twenty minutes at least since I finished reading and inarticulate rage is still the only thing in my head. It'd be an ugly contribution and this story is plenty ugly on its own.

Every curse upon the predator. Every blessing upon the survivor.

.
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:04 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


.

Curse is already on the predator. He's mentally ill. I hope he is kept from society forever because he can't be fixed.

The world needs a litmus test for mental and personality disorders and a mature system for dealing with the people that them; humanly and in a healthy and loving way of course.
posted by Increase at 6:11 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine how you could go on, let alone testify.

.
posted by neuromodulator at 6:13 PM on June 22, 2011


This is awful.

.

A police officer came to my high school in 1990 or '91, and told us some stuff about how to minimize the chances of being assaulted. He said that in about half of the rapes he'd dealt with or knew about, fighting back was the best thing to do, and in the other half it was the worst thing to do, and we should trust our instincts.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:35 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


this article really hits home that it could be any of us in their place.

.
posted by fillsthepews at 6:37 PM on June 22, 2011


God, Kalebu's story is depressing, too. That poor kid has something deeply wrong in his head.
posted by neuromodulator at 6:39 PM on June 22, 2011


Thank you for the trigger warning. I wish I had paid attention to it. I got less than halfway through before I had an all out panic attack.

For Theresa: .
posted by zarq at 6:40 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I haven't read this yet, but Theresa's brother is Norbert Leo Butz, who won a Tony last week for his performance in Catch Me If You Can, and he dedicated his Tony Award to his sister.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:41 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I--I just---wow.

.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:51 PM on June 22, 2011


The supporting article on the justice system and the killer's trajectory is fascinating.

My heart goes out to these two poor women.
posted by effluvia at 6:57 PM on June 22, 2011


oh.my.god.
posted by peripathetic at 7:03 PM on June 22, 2011


There are great teachers in life. Some teach us math, some teach us how to die with grace and dignity, and some, like this beautiful woman in Seattle, teach us how to live.
posted by milarepa at 7:08 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


She is indeed the bravest woman in Seattle.

.
posted by winna at 7:10 PM on June 22, 2011


Fucking fuck. I am full of many emotions after reading that -- rage and sorrow and disgust and fear and vulnerability. I'm a woman who lives with a woman and this whole thing makes me scared in the same way the story of the murder/attempted murder of Rebecca Wight and Claudia Brenner made me (hell, still sometimes makes me and it's over 20 years later) nervous about public displays of affection with my partner when we're in some unfamiliar places where we could be observed by crazy homophobes. God, I'd hate to die like that, but I cannot imagine the pain of being the one who lived.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:11 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I generally consider myself an atheist, but when I finished with that article I prayed for Theresa and her partner.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:15 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Theresa Bunt's partner really is the bravest woman in Seattle. Not only because of the testimony, but because she performs to benefit Voices and Faces. There is an album, heartbreaking called Take Me With You, to benefit the project. It features friends and family as well as Theresa's partner on vocals. There are tracks and videos and stories and photos and love and endless loss and it will all break you to a million pieces.

At least one video identifies Theresa's partner by first and last name but the text on the site does not - clearly she prefers it this way so maybe we could keep respecting that.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:25 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Five years ago a man broke into our top floor duplex condo and went to sleep on the sofa. We were sleeping upstairs in a bedroom with the door closed. Apparently, he woke up and went to the bathroom and our dog, who was in bed with us, must have heard the flushing and went crazy barking. He was only 9 lbs (Maltese) but a hell of a good barker.
My husband sneaked downstairs to see what all the barking was about and came back up and told me there was a man sleeping on our couch. We totally freaked out and called the cops.
In about 3 minutes we had about a dozen police racing up to our apt. Squad cars in the front and the back.
Turns out he was an inebriated yuppie neighbor who lived in the identical apt in the identical building next to us. He had lost his keys, climbed the stairs to the 3rd floor, climbed up and hopped over the railing on our back deck, popped the sturdy locked deck door with a credit card and just strolled in.
Ever since then I never feel safe - he could have been someone like this monster, mentally ill or not. If it wasn't for our dog barking I guess we would have run into him at breakfast!
The assn't states attorney suggested we drop the case as it was a freak situation and he never was in trouble before so we did. He came in wearing a suit and tie with his lawyer brother and 'apolgized so we just let it go.
A dog can give you some warning even a tiny one.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 7:44 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why I'm against the death penalty. THat motherfucker needs to live in jail a really goddamn long time.

(oh, and thanks Ronnie, for dismantling the mental health system.)
posted by notsnot at 7:48 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


notsnot: "This is why I'm against the death penalty. THat motherfucker needs to live in jail a really goddamn long time.

(oh, and thanks Ronnie, for dismantling the mental health system.)
"

That motherfucker tried to commit suicide again today. If it weren't for the satisfaction in seeing him convicted, I'd be fine if they'd just let him succeed and save me and the rest of WA's taxpayers the expense and horror of the rest of this trial and his subsequent incarceration/"treatment".

But since the survivor was brave enough to do what she did in court, I want him tried and convicted and sentenced, for her and Teresa to have some small justice. After that, he can swallow razor blades for all I care.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 8:12 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you read the link posted above, you'll see that he was originally going to take a plea bargain during the earlier case involving fighting with and threatening his mother, but he freaked out and withdrew it when he found out he'd have to submit a DNA sample. I have to wonder if it isn't the first time he's done something like this....
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:32 PM on June 22, 2011


The woman is very brave.

The article is emotional pornography of the worse sort.
posted by LarryC at 8:34 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


.

Missed one. Apparently, the fire he (allegedly) set killed two people.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:37 PM on June 22, 2011


I have to wonder if it isn't the first time he's done something like this....

The linked story has the victim testifying that the alleged perp said "I know you're going to call the police. They all do. But I'm going to be long gone. I always am."

So, yeah.
posted by Justinian at 9:14 PM on June 22, 2011


This is why I am going to be a criminal prosecutor. Justice can be cathartic.
posted by Sylvia Plath's terrible fish at 9:47 PM on June 22, 2011


.
posted by luminous phenomena at 10:16 PM on June 22, 2011


I'm weirdly relieved that I'm not the only person who read this article at work last week and nearly couldn't go about my day. I'd picked up a print copy of The Stranger, read the article just before I was supposed to begin, and couldn't concentrate on anything else for the rest of the day. A week later and I'd say this whole story continues to occupy about 60% of my waking thoughts. I wasn't living in Washington in 2009 so I didn't really hear much about the attacks at the time. I just can't stop thinking about it now.

The things that keep turning over in my head are the many, many, many failures to treat Kalebu. It's just too much to process.

Bless Teresa's partner for speaking out.
posted by Neofelis at 10:20 PM on June 22, 2011


Curse is already on the predator. He's mentally ill. I hope he is kept from society forever because he can't be fixed.

The world needs a litmus test for mental and personality disorders and a mature system for dealing with the people that them; humanly and in a healthy and loving way of course.


and

This is why I'm against the death penalty. THat motherfucker needs to live in jail a really goddamn long time.

This is exactly why I'm FOR the death penalty. We humanely put down dogs on a three bite, they're done policy. I don't WANT my tax dollars supporting this guy having a nice time in prison, able to read books, have access to TV, and three squares a day. Shit, there are children in this country that don't get that much.

I want him judged and removed from earth. That way there's no chance of him EVER, EVER doing this again--and don't tell me that's not possible--not with our fucked up system. There's enough cases out there of men murdering and raping, being put away, and then getting out and doing it again.

Mentally ill or not, he's a menace to society, just like a rabid dog. Save the money to help someone mentally ill that doesn't want to rape and kill.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:32 PM on June 22, 2011


From evoque's link: Kramer diagnosed Kalebu as having "bipolar disorder not otherwise specified."

It's not always the case, but Bipolar "NOS" is often used as a flag for a suspicion that what you are dealing with is not actually an "Axis 1" bipolar depression but a seriously dysfunctional personality somewhere along the BPD/ASPD spectrum, etc. One reason for its popularity in the US is that many insurances, public and private, either refuse or make it incredibly difficult for in-patient or out-patient treatment of Axis 2 diagnoses. These often don't respond well to simple chemical therapy with mood stabilisers such as lithium or antipsychotics such as olanzapine so the article's focus on their administration to Kalebu as a potential panacea seems misplaced.
posted by meehawl at 10:39 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't WANT my tax dollars supporting this guy

There's lots of stuff I don't want my tax dollars supporting, but they do anyway.

Also, regardless of whether they're using the diminished capacity defense or not, the man is not mentally well. The death penalty is off the table already for sentencing. We don't execute the mentally unwell, as a general rule.

Then there's the whole thing about how a death sentence carries automatic appeals, which my tax dollars pay for. It just came up in the news recently that the state of California spent $4 billion dollars on executions since 1978. They've only executed 13 people since 1978, so... not really a great use of the money, if you're concerned about poor children not getting enough to eat. Know what I mean?

There are a lot of extremely good reasons to abolish the death penalty.
posted by palomar at 10:55 PM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Actually, the death penalty is pretty darn costly to tax payers, BlueHorse, and from what I've read about prison conditions in the US, jail hardly sounds like Club Med for ne'er do wells. I was once for the death penalty, but have since joined the anti camp for all the reasons palomar linked to above.
posted by peripathetic at 11:04 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used to be for the death penalty, too -- or at least, I was okay with it in certain circumstances. Like when Westley Allan Dodd was executed. But when I learned more about the problems with capital punishment, it was much harder to be okay with it. And then when they caught Gary Ridgway, who was without a doubt the most terrifying fixture of my childhood (pac nw natives of a certain age will totally know what i mean, also that guy and i graduated from the same high school and he lived a mile away from me when he was caught omfg aaaaagh), and he didn't get the chair... well, if that guy doesn't merit the death penalty, then why do we even have it?
posted by palomar at 11:25 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have no words. Which, uh, doesn't really happen.
posted by desuetude at 11:32 PM on June 22, 2011


I can't believe we live in a world where these things happen.

It's weird to me (as a lay person with zero professional psychology experience) that he's been diagnosed as bipolar, because uh, I don't know any bipolar people who run around killing people. This guy has killed at least 3 people that we're aware of.

From Teresa's partner's testimony, it almost sounds like the guy was sometimes having dissociative experiences in between those moments of torturing them.

About the death penalty...

It's a bit complicated: I can't simply say, "I'm pro-death penalty," or "I'm anti-death penalty." I'm for the death penalty in theory, but as I've learned more about it, I don't support how it has been practiced in the US and other countries.

"If [Casey Anthony] ever does make it to death row and gets in line behind the 399 inmates already there, she would be killed sometime in the 23rd century."
Various studies have concluded that the death penalty adds a minimum of $1 million to the cost of the average trial, often more. And then verdicts are automatically appealed. The appeals drag on and often succeed. So there are more trials and/or more sentencing hearings. And then they are appealed.

New Jersey eliminated its death penalty in 2007 after spending more than $250 million on death-penalty trials since the early 1980s and executing nobody.

In 2004, researchers at Columbia University came out with a report titled "A Broken System: The Persistent Patterns of Reversals of Death Sentences in the United States.''

It found that when a court hands down a death sentence, "there is a 68 percent chance that it will be overturned by a state or federal court because of serious error.'' The reversal rates are higher in states where the death penalty is applied more frequently.

Fifty-four percent of the federal judges who have overturned verdicts were appointed by Republicans. Even they understand details matter when you are killing people.
posted by autoclavicle at 11:47 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a lesson to be learned, for those willing to read it

To think that this terrible and terrifying story reveals some sort of one-size-fits-all "lesson" to those "willing" to get it is sheer wishful thinking -- a moralistic fairy tale that is denial in the face of the real lesson, which is that sometimes monstrous things beyond our comprehension and control happen randomly and there is no way to know what the "right thing" to do is under circumstances that are literally unimaginable up until the moment you find yourself in them.

It's soothing to think that there's One Fail-Safe Way to keep the wolf from your door (or your loved one's door) -- or, more specifically, to kill the wolf once he gets in. But taking that point of view is a luxury that most women can't afford.
posted by scody at 11:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


This story by itself is abysmal. What this woman and her partner suffered through is deplorable, and nobody in their right mind should want anyone to suffer as this woman suffered.

That being said, this turgid article is Nancy Grace-esque "fear men, especially Blacks or Hispanics" at it's highest form.

Reading this without reading the prefacing two well-written articles illustrating the increasing problems his family had trying to help this individual with his visibly profound mental problems and the utter fucking failure of the police to do anything at all to assist is disingenuous at best. And voluntarily sexist at worst. Yeah, men are bad, whoopee.

And we're really still talking about the death penalty?
I thought we'd moved past that. Fuck, I should move to Europe.

On preview: scody hits on it as well.
posted by Sphinx at 12:49 AM on June 23, 2011


Yeah, men are bad, whoopee.

I'm a guy, and I didn't get that from the article.

I'm not reading any more about this guy, not because I'm being voluntarily sexist, but because it's a really troubling story, and I think I'm going to go hug my kid instead, and then maybe go for a walk.
posted by dubold at 1:03 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


That being said, this turgid article is Nancy Grace-esque "fear men, especially Blacks or Hispanics" at it's highest form.

It really isn't. The psycho bastard was a black man; if you think reporting this fact reflects unfairly on men, that says more about you than the article.

This story belongs to Butz and her partner. I found it incredibly moving and disturbing. I'm going to find it hard to concentrate at work, or get my mind off what happened in that house that night. I'm going to have to expend a lot of energy convincing myself that I am nothing like these women in order to be able to function normally, even though I rationally know this could have happened as easily to me as to them. I am going to repeatedly and involuntarily start to imagine what they went through, and fail, and find some small comfort in the fact that this one monster is securely in custody; it can't happen again, even though I know it will, with some other monster, some other victim. And at no point during this day will I ever stop to wonder if this story is really about how the media unfairly demonises men.
posted by londonmark at 1:13 AM on June 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


But, "trigger" warnings now? Really? This has been adopted?

I am a man who has never been raped, and reading the precursor to this story on The Slog kept me up for a week afterwards. I can only imagine how awful it was for someone who had been raped, and how they'd want a heads up before delving into that story.
posted by gc at 1:44 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really should have linked the two stories I'd mentioned in my previous post that illustrate some of the dealings the local PD had with this individual.

This story belongs to Butz and her partner.

Really?

It should belong to a fucking outrageous failure of how the Seattle Police Department treats their mentally ill, but it won't. That asshole should have been locked up/medicated/supervised/ankle monitored four or five times before he killed anyone, but he wasn't. Why? Because it costs too much.

Do I have to defend my stance on gay rights to criticize an article? An article that I think was written ingenuously attributing the relationship of the victims as a motive to the attacker?

SPHINX IS FOR ALL PEOPLE TO BE EQUAL.

FULL STOP.


The best part is now I can marry people. /muhahahaha
posted by Sphinx at 2:00 AM on June 23, 2011


Compliance can keep assaults from escalating in some circumstances but it's really a judgement call and one you absolutely cannot make until you are in the moment.

When the second knife came out she said, she knew what was going to happen. You can argue with me, try arguing with her:
The story he had been telling them, the story Butz's partner had been telling herself, the story that he just wanted sex and was not going to hurt them, now completely shattered. "In that moment I just knew he was going to kill us," Butz's partner told the court. "I just knew. There was something different in his gaze. There was this kind of looking. I didn't feel fear from him, I didn't feel anger from him, I just felt this nothing."
While I am not disputing that her partner saved this woman's life by fighting, that is not a universally recommended course of action.

With rape, compliance surely has saved some lives. But with murder? Only lucky people that have their arteries missed or people that fight back. This guy was going to kill them both, and they both knew it. Too many people take on the role of the sheep when confronted by the wolf because they're simply not accustomed to dealing with people violently.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:02 AM on June 23, 2011


With the greatest respect, I don't think you have clue one what you're talking about when you make a blanket statement like that.

Additionally, with the greatest respect, I've had people with machetes try and cut my limbs off, and I am still here typing with both hands. So I might have a little idea of what I'm talking about.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:07 AM on June 23, 2011


C_D, had that person already raped you several times and used their first knife to do whatever the journalist alluded to as being cut open from the inside?

Because that second knife and that poor woman's realization came after all that had already been done. Christ, have some empathy.
posted by fraula at 4:38 AM on June 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


C_D, the point you mention in their ordeal came at the very end. After he had been telling them, the whole time, that he just wanted pussy and wasn't going to kill them.

It's really, really, really fucking shitty of you to sit here and pass judgement on them for not fighting back the way you would have.
posted by palomar at 7:24 AM on June 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


She is brave. Speaking out publicly, when people are going to mock and second guess what you did, when your partner was tortured and murdered and you were tortured...I'm in awe of her courage and strength. I hope she's got a lot of support, she's going to need it.

I'm glad for the trigger alert. I've been raped, and the warning let me get in a head space where I could read it. Doesn't mean I'm not furious, wanting to hit things and really worried about the woman (I didn't have the courage to go to court, to my shame). But these kinds of things happen every day, not always to women, not usually for as long and hard, and people need to know.
posted by QIbHom at 8:47 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


This guy was going to kill them both, and they both knew it. Too many people take on the role of the sheep when confronted by the wolf because they're simply not accustomed to dealing with people violently.

Just so we're clear here: you are characterizing someone who has just been raped and tortured (and in this instance, heard/watched a loved one being raped and tortured) and is no doubt in profound shock as "taking on the role of a sheep"?
posted by scody at 8:56 AM on June 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


The survivor testified that she felt sure if she and Teresa showed too much of a connection with one another, it would be used against them. She gives a description of her attacker that shows she paid attention to the details, like how his manner of speech showed his intelligence. She certainly gives me the impression that she is savvy about reading people, and her testimony about Teresa's interaction with the attacker makes me believe Teresa was no less perceptive.

They read the situation as best they could in an attempt to keep themselves alive, and that's all anyone can do.

This story belongs to Butz and her partner.

This is the best thing about the article, in my opinion. The entire story is horrifying and difficult to read, and yet the focus is consistently kept on what a brave, brave woman she is. I came away from the article feeling haunted by what had happened to her and Teresa, and yet strangely uplifted by her strength and courage in taking the witness stand. I think Eli Sanders did a really masterful job of telling her story in a way that is respectful and sensitive, and is about her rather than merely what happened to her.
posted by adiabat at 10:16 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


That being said, this turgid article is Nancy Grace-esque "fear men, especially Blacks or Hispanics" at it's highest form.

I would call this a...shall we say, radical interpretation of the text. Can you explain why you feel this way?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 11:23 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Regarding mental health and the judicial system: Can anyone comment on medication compliance as a condition for pretrial release? Is it common? How do different states approach monitoring? Does "personal recognizance" mean he was being held personally accountable for taking his meds, even though the charge he faced involved threatening to kill someone who suggested he take his pills? Did his aunt assume accountability when he was released to move in with her? Was the state having him meet with an appointed psychiatrist on an outpatient basis? Was he given routine blood tests to ensure compliance? (I mean, aren't you supposed to do that with lithium for safety reasons, anyway?)

I'm gonna say that if a patient is regarded as a likely threat even when medicated, as it was in this case, they shouldn't be released. If they don't pose a threat when medicated, there should be appropriate and continuous followup to make sure that they stay on their meds, and that the meds are continuing to work.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:16 PM on June 23, 2011


.
posted by ruelle at 3:48 PM on June 23, 2011


.
posted by i feel possessed at 1:05 AM on June 24, 2011


Civil_Disobedient, it's a times like this that I wish MeFi had the ability to "unfavorite" comments. STOP BLAMING THE VICTIMS. I hate smug assholes like you chiming in to say what victims should have done.

All of your comments boil down to "well if they'd just tried harder...", as though they bear any responsibility at all for the crimes perpetrated against them. You don't know jack shit about what they went through or what it was like to be them in that place at that time. The article wasn't a play by play, and even testimony can't recreate the exact horrific nature of the crimes.

Also, WTF? You seriously came into a thread about victims of rape and murder to portray yourself as some badass mofo who would never stoop so low as to get cut up by machetes... And then, based on your absurd delusions of superiority, you grant yourself the illegitimate authority to pass judgment on these women? You disgust me. Your self-aggrandizing attempt to steal attention from these victims is shameful and distasteful to the nth degree.
posted by i feel possessed at 2:21 AM on June 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Isaiah Kalebu testified in his own defense this morning.

I had read yesterday that the judge basically told Kalebu that if he planned to testify in order to cause a disruption and guarantee himself a mistrial, he was sorely mistaken because that shit is not happening on this judge's watch. Fuck yeah, judge. Go on with your bad self.

That said, Kalebu's testimony today basically blew the "general denial" defense right out of the water. It remains to be seen if he's cunning enough to fake schizophrenia, or if the "enemies" delusion is real. Do I care? Not as long as he ends up rotting in a cell, I don't.
posted by palomar at 11:45 AM on June 29, 2011


The case went to jury yesterday and the verdict came down this afternoon. Guilty on all counts.

Thank god.
posted by palomar at 5:18 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Stranger has two follow-ups that lift the heart a little: a piece on their blog about the verdict, which includes some comments from the judge, and an update to the original story (at the bottom), which says, in part:
After the verdict was delivered, Ramona Brandes, one of Kalebu's defense attorneys, said of Butz's partner: "She was the best witness I have seen in my 14 years as an attorney."
She sounds like an incredible woman. I don't know how you begin to move past something like this, but I hope she can find some peace.
posted by Georgina at 2:53 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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