Gay Reporter's Account of Lesbian Murder Wins Pulitzer

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com April 18 2012 3:30 PM ET

The Seattle double-rape/homicide on July 18, 2009 that left Teresa Butz dead and her partner, Jennifer Hopper, in the hospital was a harrowing experience for that family, the people of Seattle, and lesbians nationwide as many pondered the random brutality of the possible hate crime. Gay writer Eli Sanders, an associate editor of The Strange, Seattle's alt-weekly newspaper, followed the crime and the aftermath, chronicling the tragedy for readers from July 19, 2009 through the killer's 2011 trial. His reportage of Hopper's days on the witness stand and her recounting of the day of the horrifying attack — The Stranger witheld the victim's name out of respect for her privacy, something unusual these days — just earned Sanders the highest journalism honor: a Pulitzer Prize.

"I was stunned at first," Sanders told the Miami Herald, adding that it's "cool that a scrappy little alt-weekly in Seattle can produce something that resonates on this level." Isaiah Kalebu was sentenced to life without parole for killing Butz (the sister of Tony-award winning actor, Norbert Leo Butz) and attacking Hopper, who later came out in the media with a riveting essay in The Stranger entitled, "I would like you to know my name."

Read the Pulitzer-winning article at The Stranger.