After a trial that lasted three and a half weeks, Isaiah Kelebu was
found guilty Friday of aggravated murder in the 2009 attack on Teresa
Butz and her partner in Seattle.
While the verdict was being read, Butz’s surviving partner cried quietly in the courtroom.
"It's a somber occasion," said King County's chief criminal deputy prosecutor, Mark Larson. "A verdict doesn't fix anything, but it's still an important statement for our community. We're grateful, but the pain doesn't go away."
Butz’s partner testified that on the night of the attack she awoke to find a man in the bedroom she shared with Butz. Armed with a butcher knife, the man sexually assaulted each woman repeatedly while aggressively cutting into their throats. Though mortally injured, Butz was able to dive through a window, creating a distraction that allowed her partner to escape through the front door.
According to Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Konat, it was Butz's distraction that saved her partner's life.
Kalebu, whose violent outbursts resulted in his removal from the courtroom, only testified for about five minutes during the trial. "I was there and I was told by my God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to attack enemies," Kalebu, who has a history of mental illness, told the jury about the night in question. "I followed the instructions by God."
Convicted of all charges — including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and first-degree burglary — Kalebu will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
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