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The Bravest Woman in Seattle

For herself, for the woman she loved, and for justice, the survivor of the South Park attacks tells a courtroom what happened that night.

The Bravest Woman in Seattle

Aaron Bagley

The prosecutor wanted to know about window coverings. He asked: Which windows in the house on South Rose Street, the house where you woke up to him standing over you with a knife that night—which windows had curtains that blocked out the rest of the world and which did not?

She answered the prosecutor's questions, pointing to a map of the small South Park home she used to share with her partner, Teresa Butz, a downtown Seattle property manager. When the two of them lived in this house, it was red, a bit run-down, much loved, filled with their lives together, typical of the neighborhood. Now it was a two-dimensional schematic, State's Exhibit 2, set on an easel next to the witness stand. She narrated with a red laser pointer for the prosecutor and the jury: These windows had curtains that couldn't be seen through. These windows had just a sheer fabric.

Would your silhouettes have been visible through that sheer fabric at night?

Probably. She didn't know for sure. When she and her partner lived in the house, she noted, "I didn't spend a lot of time staring in my own windows."

Everyone in the courtroom laughed a small laugh—a laugh of nervous relief, because here was a woman testifying about her own rape, and the rape and murder of her partner, and yet she was smiling at the current line of questioning, at the weird perceptual cul-de-sac to which it led. She appeared to understand why people might need to hear these answers, though. What happened to her and Butz in that house in the early morning hours of July 19, 2009, is hard to comprehend. A juror, in order to ease into the reality of what occurred, might first need to imagine how the man picked these two women. At least, then, there'd be some sort of arc to the story.

Maybe he stalked them, looked in their windows, decided they would be his victims. A young South Park girl named Diana Ramirez had already told the court that the man looked familiar. "His eyes," Ramirez said. The prosecutor had also pointed out that the women only had a partial fence in their backyard, the yard where they liked to sit on warm evenings, staring at the sky above the South Park Community Center and the trees in the large surrounding park. It would have been easy for the man to approach their home, unseen, through this park at night.

Maybe he'd noticed the women around the neighborhood during the day, both attractive, both shorter than him, working in their front yard, or attending a local festival, or heading to and from their favorite bar, Loretta's. That July it was unusually hot. Butz, a brown-haired dynamo raised in much hotter St. Louis summers, thought it ridiculous to install air conditioning in Seattle, the court was told. Maybe the man saw that these women were keeping some windows open at night.

Maybe he also saw their love for each other, noticed it in silhouette or on a sidewalk, a love that was exploding that summer, making them inseparable, a love that had grown into plans for a commitment ceremony that fall. Maybe he realized he could turn that love against them, mercilessly, use it to control them in their own home, each subdued by the threat that he would kill the other.

They were two and he was one. But maybe he saw that, in a sense, they were one. He was six feet tall, 200 pounds, muscled. He would have two knives with him. Maybe, looking through one of their windows, he thought that if it did become a fight, the numbers would be on his side.

She understood, sitting up there on the witness stand, why people might need to imagine her window coverings. But this is not what the survivor of the South Park rapes and murder had come to talk about. The mechanics, both psychological and practical, of how the attacks might have come to pass were now well beside the point. In any sense that would satisfy, they are probably unknowable.

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.

The woman, now 38—out of respect for her wishes, The Stranger is not publishing her name—held the room with a transfixing emotional frankness. She cried at times. She set her jaw and pressed on when it got exhausting, the reliving of an ordeal that probably lasted around 90 minutes, but took close to six hours over two days to retell in court. She showed regret and terror and humiliation and grief and fury. She showed that she appreciated how awful, really absurdly awful, this all was, and she welcomed opportunities to laugh—at herself, at odd things her murdered partner had done when she was alive, at an inelegant, unintentionally impolite question from the prosecuting attorney about a trip she'd made to Weight Watchers with her partner on their last morning together as part of the couple's plan to get in better shape before their commitment ceremony.

The prosecuting attorney asked something like: How'd it go at Weight Watchers? Without missing a beat, without shame, she framed her body with her hands, moved them up and down, and said: "Well..."

As if to say: Look at me. Go ahead, look at all of me. It's okay. Laugh at the awkwardness of this, as everyone in the courtroom is doing right now, if that's what you all need to do. It's okay. Really. Look at me. And thank you for looking, because later on in this trial, the prosecutor will step up to the witness stand and pull my straight black hair back from my neck so that I can more easily point out, for all of you who are looking, the four slashing scars that run from below my left ear toward my throat, the scars from when the man cut and stabbed me with his knife. I am not scared. I have nothing to hide here. Not anymore. Not for something as important as this, the opportunity to put him away.

She spoke of the perfect ordinariness of their last days together. How, the Friday before the attack, she stayed late working at her office in downtown Seattle and got an impatient call from Butz: "Are you coming home?" She went home and saw Butz sitting on a red couch in their little red house in South Park, the house that—back when they first met by happenstance during a downtown Seattle workday in 2007—Butz had brought up before almost anything else. How there was lots of weeding to do. How it wasn't the nicest "but she loved it."

On this Friday, Butz was sitting on the couch in the red house and, her partner recalled, "she had a pen and paper." Butz was excited. She had gone through all their finances. They had the money they needed for the commitment ceremony.

They decided to walk through the neighborhood to Loretta's. The second booth in from the door was theirs. It always seemed to be free for them. Butz ordered a bourbon and water, her partner a margarita. They ate the tavern steak and a salad. They felt great.

"We had one of the deepest conversations that we'd had in a long time," Butz's partner recalled on the stand. "She'd always had this dream of—I think she always wanted to work for herself. And she had this dream of owning a cafe-slash-movie theater. She wanted to call it the Reel Cafe. We were talking about it, what it would mean, what it would take... We came to this decision that we would work at our corporate jobs for as long as it took to make that happen, and then she would do that."

They talked about children. Butz, who was 39, who had never been the one they thought would carry the child, announced: "Maybe I'll have the baby."

The prosecuting attorney asked: All of this happens at Loretta's?

She laughed. The crowd in the courtroom laughed. It did seem remarkable.

"Yeah," she said. "We were there for a few hours... It was our place."

They walked home through South Park, through faint cones of street-lamp light and long stretches of darkness. Butz stopped at a store along the way and got her brand of beer, Bud Light. She wasn't a regular smoker, but she was craving a cigarette. She said she was going to buy just one. They sat in the backyard of the little red house, staring at the trees, the community center, the sky above. "It was really hot that night," Butz's partner recalled on the stand. "Probably like in the 80s or 90s." They drank. Butz, it turned out, had come away from the store with three or four cigarettes. She smoked them all.

"It was just one of those nights," her partner said. "I remember thinking: 'In this moment, my life may not be perfect, but I am so happy.'"

The next day was Saturday, July 18, 2009. Weight Watchers in the morning. Then a fun thing a friend had gotten them into: a double-decker bus tour of microbreweries in the South Park area. Butz played bartender on the bus. A friend took pictures of them together. "I remember the sun was shining," her partner said. "It was really hot. And I remember a few times I glanced at Teresa, and she had her face up. She loved the sun. She was in heaven."

There was a late-afternoon trip to a dressmaker who was working on a commitment ceremony gown for Butz's partner. The dressmaker wrapped her in a muslin cutout of the pattern. "I felt so beautiful," she recalled. They were invited to a friend's party up in Woodinville that night, a sleepover kind of thing so that people wouldn't have to worry about driving home. But they were both feeling tired. They decided to go back to South Park instead.

They bought steaks and potatoes—"stuff that she loved"—and while Butz grilled the steaks outside, her partner made the rest of the meal inside. There was a phone call from Butz's mom. "This beautiful, amazingly connected call with her mom, who she loved so amazingly much," her partner recalled. It sounded like Butz's mom, who is Catholic and had some reservations about their commitment ceremony, would indeed be coming. "While they may not have agreed with our choice," Butz's partner said on the stand of some members of her partner's family, "there was no question that they loved Teresa, and there was no question that they loved me."

Dinner. Then a movie that had been lying around the house for a while, a musical that made them both cry. It was around midnight. Butz checked the locks multiple times (like always), she brushed her teeth multiple times while flossing in between (like always), she took the left side of the bed (like always) right next to her water and her lip balm. Her partner took the right side of the bed (like always). They said good night.

"I kind of leaned in to her and said, 'I love you so much,'" Butz's partner recounted.

"She said, 'I know you do.' And that was it. We went to sleep."

Butz's partner doesn't know how long they slept.

"I woke up to a start," she told the court. "There was a man that I could see was naked, standing over the bed with a knife in his right hand... And the knife immediately went to my throat."

She gasped. She thought: This is a dream.

"And then," she told the court, "it's just processing that there's a person here and something's going to happen."

She didn't immediately know if Butz was awake with her, but she didn't want to take her eyes off the man in order to find out.

"He said, 'Be quiet, be quiet.' Because I made that noise or whatever. And he said: 'I don't want to hurt you. I just want pussy.'"

He told them to take their clothes off.

Butz was already awake. Her partner remembers her saying: "Sir, I'm on my period."

The man's response: "I don't care."

"So she took her pants off, and her shirt as well, and he got on top of her," Butz's partner told the court. "He started raping her."

The man held onto the knife the whole time, kept it ready. (Prosecutors brought the alleged knife to court as evidence. It was more than a foot long from tip to handle.)

"I was as still as humanly possible," Butz's partner said. "I feel like I tried to put my arm as close to her as possible so she would know that I was there. I was terrified. I thought he'd kill us with the knife. I'd already had it to my throat. Already it was clear, you know—the energy was, if you don't do what he says, he'll kill her... It wasn't just our own lives that we were worried about... I know when I laid there still I was thinking, 'If I am good, he won't hurt her.'"

After a time, Butz's partner said on the stand, "He got off of her, and he told me to take my clothes off, which I did. And then he told her, 'Lick her pussy.' And she got in the position, but she didn't do it. She pretended. I was really grateful for that. But I remember I could just feel her near me. And I watched him walk by the dresser near the window, and he just, one by one, shut all three windows."

In the courtroom, it felt like windows were closing. Everyone was still, as if hoping that this would keep him from hurting them.

He raped Butz's partner next.

"I remember I laid very still, or very flat. I remember thinking, 'Just get through it and he'll go. He'll go. Don't do anything crazy.'"

She recounted how he smelled ("clean"), what his build was like ("muscular"), his race ("black"), how much hair he had on his body ("very little"), the volume of his voice ("soft"), the speed of his speech ("medium"), and the manner in which he spoke ("Other than using the word pussy, which kind of seemed lower brow, to be honest, the rest of his speech was very intelligent").

She remembered feeling Butz reach for her arm, remembered Butz saying, "I'm so sorry."

"Then," Butz's partner told the court, "he told me to get on my knees on the bed."

The prosecuting attorney asked: Why?

"Because he wanted to. Well, he did. He put his penis in my anus."

Already, Butz had been praying out loud through the ordeal: "Our father, please help us. Our father in heaven..." Her partner now started praying, too: "Please, God, let us live."

Then, "He stopped and he stepped away. And he told Teresa to get down on the floor on her knees in front of him... I heard him say 'swallow,' and I heard what sounded like gagging noises from her."

Butz's partner visualized waiting, getting through this, the man leaving, then calling someone to come get them. At some point, he was done forcing Butz to perform oral sex and the two women both "scuttled up" on the bed, backs against the headboard, knees pressed to chests, arms around knees. Butz told him their purses were in the kitchen, that they didn't have much cash but he could have whatever he wanted.

"He said, 'I'm not going to hurt you. Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you.' Then he said, and I remember: 'Don't get too excited. That was just round one.'"

He stood there, leaning against the dresser in their bedroom, naked, knife in hand, staring.

"He wasn't smiling. He wasn't scowling. He was just staring."

For Butz's partner, this waiting for more pain was worse than experiencing the pain in the moment.

The prosecuting attorney asked: How many rounds were there altogether?

"Three."

Her first day of testimony ended. The next morning, June 9, she was back on the witness stand. In a building filled with trial horrors, this courtroom was about to go well beyond the normal—beyond what most people are brave enough to imagine, let alone recount. Some of her testimony from this day is not going to be recounted in this story. It got very gruesome. But in order to understand her courage it's necessary to hear, as much as possible, what she lived through.

Butz's mother sat listening to the testimony on one of the wooden benches, just as she had every day of the trial so far, other members of the Butz family tight on either side of her. She is a small woman, just like her daughter, who was only five feet two. One thought: If this woman can absorb, at the level of detail required for proof before a jury, the particulars of what happened to her daughter—can view the bloody crime-scene photographs, can listen to the 911 call from a neighbor leaning over her blood-soaked daughter and screaming, "Ma'am, please wake up! Please wake up!" (while, to the 911 operator pleading, "Please hurry, please hurry"), can hear the testimony about DNA evidence and what orifices it was recovered from—then no one else in this courtroom can dare turn away. Butz's mother's presence, too, created an imperative: This happened. You must listen.

Isaiah Kalebu, the man accused of these crimes, sat in a sealed courtroom on a higher floor, deemed so uncontrollable he's been banned from his own trial, left to watch the proceedings on closed-circuit television while strapped into a restraint chair and dressed in a thick green flop of fabric known as a "suicide smock." (No ties, strings, sleeves, or other possible aides to self-harm.) Up to this point in the trial, Kalebu hadn't been fighting his confinement in the upstairs courtroom, but this morning, of all mornings, he changed from his suicide smock into a dress shirt and slacks and requested that he be allowed to sit in the eighth-floor courtroom with his accuser. After his lawyers went up and talked to him, he retracted the request.

Butz's partner began her second day of testimony with the awful silence of the man standing there that night, leaning against the dresser, staring, promising more. "So much had already happened. I was trying to imagine what else..." And: "I didn't feel like Teresa and I could communicate. I didn't feel like I could tell her 'I love you'... I almost thought it would be worse, and I don't know why, if he knew I loved her too much."

He said to the two women: "All right, get ready for round two."

The horror of what happened next made the court reporter's eyes well up, made the bailiff cry, had the whole room in tears. The jury handed around a box of tissues. The prosecutor took long pauses to collect himself. The family and friends in the courtroom cried (though, truth be told, they had been crying throughout). The Seattle Times reporter seated next to me cried. I cried. The camerawoman who was shooting video for all the television stations in town cried—and later on hugged Butz's partner as she left the courtroom for the midmorning break.

Perhaps it is enough to restate how one of the two prosecuting attorneys summarized the attacks in opening arguments at the beginning of the trial. Kalebu, this prosecutor said, "raped them every way imaginable. Vaginally, anally, orally. He wasn't wearing a condom, and he ejaculated several times."

Perhaps it is enough to listen to some of their conversations during the later phases of these attacks, as Butz's partner recounted them on the stand.

The man asked the couple for lube before one of his rapes of Butz. When the women replied that they didn't have any lube, he said: "Too bad for her."

The man asked, at one point: "So are you guys lesbians or are you bisexual?"

Butz's partner's mind spun. Which would be worse? Which answer would make him more likely to stop?

"I remember what I said was, 'Well, we've been together a long time, so I guess that makes us lesbians.'"

She felt that she deserved to ask him a question at this point, so she asked: "Have you seen us before?"

He shook his head no.

Butz asked: "What if we'd been an old man?"

He just shrugged.

Butz's partner made up a story that someone was coming to pick them up at 5:00 a.m. to take them to a wedding in Portland. She asked him if they were going to make the wedding. He said yes. She said: "Please don't hurt us. We're good people."

He said: "Yeah, you seem like you're good people. I wish we could have been friends."

Butz replied: "Yeah, I wish we could."

"Which," her partner said on the stand, "is exactly what she would do... Even in that moment, she wanted to make some sort of connection. She said, 'Maybe we still can.'"

He asked: "Do I seem like a good person to you?"

"She put the tips of her fingers on his chest—I will never ever forget this—and said, 'I am sure there is some good in here.'"

He said: "No more questions."

"I just did what I had to do," Butz's partner said. "At one point, I felt the tip of the knife just kind of touch my arm. I said, 'Ouch!,' and he actually said, 'Oh, I'm sorry.'"

She remembers thinking: "There's no way he'd say 'I'm sorry' and be a murderer. We're going to get through this. There's got to be some level of compassion there or something."

At one point, Butz made a play for the knife. He said: "Don't do that! Don't do that!"

Butz's partner, who was being raped at that moment, and was in a more vulnerable position, also said to Butz: "Don't do that. Don't do that."

Butz stopped trying to get the knife. The man said: "I know you're going to call the police. They all do. But I'm going to be long gone. I always am."

"Maybe we won't," Butz's partner told him.

"Well, you might not," he said.

Then he looked at Butz: "But she will."

The attacks became more sadistic. Things began to happen that were beyond the worst imagining of Butz's partner. She felt like she was going to be ripped in half. She thought: "He's not going to kill me with a knife, but he's going to kill me this way."

Then she heard Butz say: "Why are you cutting me? Why are you cutting me?"

The man said to Butz: "Shut up, or I'm going to kill your girlfriend."

He took the women into another room in the house, where he pulled another knife out of a pair of jeans he'd left on a guest bed.

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."

He made them go back into their bedroom. They pleaded with him, tried to think of what they could possibly say. They told him they were on the board of a nonprofit that helps homeless people, which was true. He didn't respond. They were back on the bed, on their backs, one of his knees on each of them, pinning them down, a knife in each of his hands.

The next thing she heard was Butz saying: "You got me. You got me. You got me." He had stabbed Butz in the heart.

"I remember thinking, 'No. No. No. No. No. No. No. We were supposed to get to leave. We were supposed to get to go. She can't be dying.'"

The man was slashing and stabbing Butz's partner, too.

"He just cut, cut, cut, cut, and I remember just feeling the blood come down, some of the blood just spurting up and out. And I remember thinking, 'This is it. There's no way I can have my throat slit and live. There's no way. There's just no way.'

"The next thing I remember him doing was switching his hand from a cutting motion to a stabbing motion."

Each of the women had their hands up, trying to push him off. Butz's partner realized, though, that the more she struggled, the more blood gushed out of her neck.

"It's the weirdest thing. You don't hurt. Blood's spurting out of you, but you don't feel anything," she told the court.

She thought: "This is how I'm going to die."

It was, she said, "sort of a moment of peace."

She thought: "Maybe what Teresa tells me about heaven is true. Maybe it will be okay."

She stopped fighting and released.

"The next thing I felt was just this powerful surge of energy."

Butz had pushed and kicked the man off of the bed.

"I remember screaming: 'Get him!'"

He punched Butz in the face. (An autopsy later showed her three bottom teeth broken and pushed back.) Butz grabbed the nightstand.

"I saw her holding that metal table, that little teeny tiny table. She kind of pushed him back with it."

No stories mattered anymore. No hopes. No promises. It was now fight or flight in that room, kill or be killed. Butz threw the table through the window. She pushed herself through the jagged glass, fell to the ground outside, got up, sprinted to the curb, ran into the street. Then, her partner said, "As quickly as she started running, she just fell straight back."

The man and Butz's partner were still standing there in the bedroom, and they looked at each other.

He ran out of the room.

She ran to the front door.

"I remember I couldn't get the front door open because my hands were too bloody," she told the court. Eventually, she did get it open and she ran to the neighbors across the street, ran past her partner lying on her back on South Rose Street, because both of them needed help right now, because it seemed like they didn't have much time. "Just ran as fast as I could," Butz's partner told the court. She was naked. They were both naked. She reached the neighbors' front door.

"I bang on the door as hard as I can," she said. As she did, she noticed the skin open on one of her arms, muscle popping through. She didn't even remember being stabbed there. Her flat palms left perfect bloody prints on the door. The neighbors weren't home.

"So I just turn around and start screaming: 'Help us! Help us!'"

Indifferent silence. Unanswered screams. A murderer and rapist running away through the night. Cruelty unchecked.

And then civilization, which did not stop this from happening, which did not even know this was happening, slowly returned, slowly wrapped itself back around the women, layer by insufficient layer.

Butz's partner saw a young Hispanic man running toward them. "He just ran," she told the court. She saw a young woman leaning over her partner. Neighborhood kids, up late on a warm night, were coming to help. One of them took off a sweatshirt and gave it to Butz's partner. "I just grabbed her sweatshirt and held it up to my neck," she said. She told a young man to call her mom on his cell phone and tell her she loved her. "And the next thing I remember at this point is an officer coming up to me and kind of abruptly telling me to stop screaming." The officer asked: Is the bad guy gone? Which way did he go? He needed to secure the area before the firemen, waiting down the block, could rush in, blue smocked and white gloved, and try and help whomever they could. "I remember they came to me"—the firemen—"and they didn't go to her, and I was like, 'Go to her! Go to her!'" Other firemen and medics would go to Butz, but it would be too late.

The canine unit would come to track the man's scent. An emergency room physician would swab Butz's partner for evidence and, for a time, with her best interests in mind, withhold from her the information that Butz had been killed. The coroner would autopsy Butz's body. The crime lab would process the evidence: fingerprints on the dresser and the bathtub, a bloody footprint on a piece of paper that had been on the floor, DNA in and on the bodies of the two women. Detectives would run down leads, match the prints and DNA directly to Kalebu.

One of the detectives, a woman named Dana Duffey, would call one day while Butz's partner sat in St. Louis at one of Butz's favorite places, a bar and restaurant overlooking the Mississippi River. Detective Duffey would tell her: "We have him." (And—no joke—fireworks would go off right at that moment across the river, an accident on the part of some worker preparing for a later show.) State psychiatrists would evaluate Kalebu and declare him competent. King County prosecutors, well aware that Kalebu had been repeatedly held—and repeatedly released—by the state's mental health and criminal justice systems in the 16 months before the South Park attacks, would prepare to try to put him away for life this time. Public defense attorneys would prepare his defense, which currently is "general denial." A judge would be assigned, a jury selected. The component pieces of this effort to be civilized even toward those accused of defying the demands of civilization, this attempt at a fair trial, would fall into place.

And then she—the bravest woman in Seattle—would testify at this trial, relive and recount it all, bear witness and bare her pain for the hope of justice.

Before all of this, though, the firemen would try to get Butz's partner to sit down on South Rose Street, to stop her screaming. But she would not sit down and stop her screaming. Not after what happened. Not after all that silence. Not anymore.

A part of her knew Butz's fate. Still, she shouted into the night. Even if Butz couldn't hear her anymore, maybe someone would hear: "I love you, Teresa! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!" recommended

On July 1, 2011, the jury found Isaiah Kalebu guilty on all counts. Guilty of aggravated, premeditated murder in the first degree (for the killing of Teresa Butz). Guilty of felony murder (for the killing of Teresa Butz). Guilty of attempted premeditated murder (for the attempted murder of Butz's partner). Guilty of rape in the first degree (for the rape of Butz's partner). Guilty of burglary in the first degree (for crawling through an open window in the couple's bathroom in the early morning hours of July 19, 2009 as he prepared to attack them).

The verdict comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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." recommended

 

Comments (141) RSS

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6 1
*tear*
Posted by 6 on June 15, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
2
This still haunts me today. It is such a courageous thing that she is doing. She is continuing the fight for Teresa...
Posted by Rena on June 15, 2011 at 9:50 AM · Report this
3
This is the best piece I've read in a long, long time. You're right, Eli, to call her the bravest woman in Seattle.
Posted by euterpe35 on June 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM · Report this
4
This story has had me crying for about ten minutes now. When my mother-in-some-degree-of-the-law heard about 2 lesbians being sexually attacked and one killed she called us in a panic to make sure my wife and I were being extra cautious. We thought she was being overbearing and shrugged it off. As more details came out we started checking and re-checking the locks. Now all I want to do is make sure my wife knows how much I love her. I don't know if I would have the strength to be attacked so brutally, watch my lover be equally attacked, survive, watch the other half of my soul die, and still have the inner strength to retell our ordeal. This woman really is the bravest woman in Seattle.
Posted by Painy on June 15, 2011 at 10:11 AM · Report this
5 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
6
terrible story, beautiful strength
Posted by rock lobsterrr on June 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM · Report this
achenium 7
We've never met, but I can't help but love Teresa. Her partner continues to fight, and I feel her love for Teresa and cant help but love her as well. Some humans are horrible monsters, but Teresa and her partner shine such a bright beacon that it should give everyone hope that the monsters will never win.
Posted by achenium on June 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM · Report this
8
This is some amazing journalism, it's a story that has to be told. We can not just write this story off as just some ordinary crime. We need to reflect as a society, what could we have done to prevent this? What WILL we do to keep the next animal from doing something like this?
Posted by hifiandrew on June 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM · Report this
Njoy 9
I spent the day in Georgetown before the murder. I came across that son of a bitch sleeping behind a warehouse with his dog by his side. My hair stood up on my arms and I ran. Seriously. I ran as if my life depended on it. I hope this man is given the electric chair. He is pure evil.
Posted by Njoy on June 15, 2011 at 11:21 AM · Report this
Womyn2me 10
I am weeping at work and ready to vomit at the same time. HOw is it possible for any human to be that strong? I dont think I could do it.
Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\www.shelleyandlaura.com on June 15, 2011 at 11:39 AM · Report this
11
Jesus, i haven't cried this hard in a long while. The lady is made of steel.. and her testament to love is a lesson for all of us.
Posted by Meekrat on June 15, 2011 at 11:48 AM · Report this
devon rocketship 12
I can barely see well enough to type through the tears. Well done Eli. Thank you.
Posted by devon rocketship http://swimtothemoon.livejournal.com on June 15, 2011 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Amaliada 13
Thank you so much Eli for making sure these women's story is told with such sensitivity and truth.
Posted by Amaliada on June 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM · Report this
14
The victim here has my utmost sympathy, and I admire her courage in testifying. However, I find that Eli Sanders coverage of the case is exploitative and sensationalist. The horrific details are not necessary to realize that this was a terrible crime and a terrible thing to testify about - they attract readers. Did he get the woman's permission to do this? She has not only had to live through the assault and recount it again and again to the authorities; now she has the details being distributed throughout Seattle and the Internet. All of her friends, relatives, coworkers and acquaintances can now know exactly how and where she was violated and made to suffer. I realize that this is all part of the public record, but it's also an invasion of privacy.
Posted by LucySnowe on June 15, 2011 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Vince 15
Thank you,Eli. Sometimes life is too horrible to understand. But we cling to our humanity, anyway.
Posted by Vince on June 15, 2011 at 2:14 PM · Report this
16
@14, while I myself don't like all aspects of Eli's writing style (I prefer a more fact based, dryer approach over Eli's more overly emotional one), it is not exploitative and sensationalist. In fact I'd say Eli goes rather far the other way. The violence is described pretty much as in any other true crime book. In fact Eli underplays it compared to other books/TV shows I have read.

I think it's necessary to have the details to fully appreciate the horror. In the same way that Lara Logan's statement about her attack was important to hear in detail (it literally gave me nightmares). I do wish this survivor had come forward w/her name, as I feel that makes a story more powerful, as in the Logan interview. But that is her decision.

Since the woman testified in open court I do not believe you need permission to write about what she says. That is in fact what keeps rape victims from coming forward, even if their name isn't used. So that alone means this woman's testimony is a brave step. Plus she knows her testimony will help lock this guy up.

I've had friends tell me they won't read Eli's story because they don't want to know the details. Life is ugly enough. I feel that way about other stories and choose not to read them. People that think they might be bothered shouldn't read the stories either.

Posted by Little Brown Hen on June 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Eli Sanders 17
@14: The survivor of the attacks was aware of, and comfortable with, the details that I chose to include. She also was aware that I would be omitting certain details.

Each reader of this piece will be his or her own judge of its value.

But my intent was not to be exploitative or sensationalistic. My intent was to convey my sense of the spirit of this brave woman's testimony, and to bear witness to what she said in that courtroom, what she and Teresa Butz experienced that night, and what has since been lost and endured.
Posted by Eli Sanders http://elisanders.net/ on June 15, 2011 at 3:09 PM · Report this
18
What a wonderful article about an awful event. Thank you for writing it.
Posted by keh7959 on June 15, 2011 at 3:43 PM · Report this
MasMadness 19
Seattle is so funny sometimes. Dan Savage gets 50+ comments within a half hour every time he so much as sneezes, and meanwhile this piece, which has to be the absolute pinnacle of the Stranger's potential, can't break 20 comments in a day (I know, he's syndicated, but still...).

Excellent work. Believe me, plenty of people are aware of the sociological and journalistic reasons this has to be printed and the level of attention paid to the delicacy is right there for anybody who wants to see it. Bravo, and let us never forget or gloss over any part of this...the incredible courage on the high side or the unconscionable horror on the low.
Posted by MasMadness on June 15, 2011 at 4:30 PM · Report this
Betty Cracker 20
God bless her and Theresa. I have two words for the defendant: Kill him.
Posted by Betty Cracker http://www.vennesund.no/ on June 15, 2011 at 4:42 PM · Report this
21
This isn't Eli's first piece delineating the SP attack; the previous article was even more voluminous. He has an incredible talent for writing & research; his investigation into the timeline & eventual meltdown of Kalebu's pattern of behavior was ineffable. Profound enough to block the sun. I believe him to be a highly sensitive man who tells the story in a humanitarian's dialect.Journalists who show empathy are sadly in short supply.
I live 2 blocks away from where Teresa Butz was slain. I had seen her in passing before at the County Line Cantina, she always had a vivacious, genuine smile. The morning after her death I had a sense of foreboding which I could not shake; this was before hearing the news. She must have had a very strong spirit because, as the weeks passed, I felt a sense of loss for a person I barely even knew.
Clearly, she must have been admired by many.As I attended her vigil (shortly before her killer was caught) everyone there was either in tears or flush with anger. A certain woman who approached the podium to speak said,"It always happens to the good ones." How sad and how true.
All the more tragic, Teresa died at such a happy time in her life when she had so many plans & prospects in front of her. I hope God has a special place for her soul.
Thanks so much Eli Sanders for your coverage of this nightmare. As for you,Isaiah Kalebu, there are many bad men in prison ;however,few of them parallel your depths of disgrace.Many of these individuals have mothers,daughters and sisters;
they will not smile upon your deeds and (with ample opportunity) your deeds will be returned to you sevenfold. May your bowels rot in Hell.
Take good care of him, boys.
Posted by CHRISCAREY75@YAHOO.COM on June 15, 2011 at 5:33 PM · Report this
22
@19 bam
Posted by fanta@ on June 15, 2011 at 5:39 PM · Report this
23
Brave, yes - but also dignified in recounting the most horrifying and painful indignity imaginable. Brave, yes - but also fully present in moments of recall that most of us would have long ago blocked, shaded with brighter colors, or just wholly denied. Brave, yes. And, so much more. May this community always embrace and protect you, my friend, and hold Teresa's memory and spirit in the honorable place it deserves.

And, thank you, Eli, for showing such perception and sensitivity in your writing about this terrible, terrible act.
Posted by Cloudwatcher on June 15, 2011 at 6:37 PM · Report this
24
Brave, yes - but also dignified in recounting the most horrifying and painful indignity imaginable. Brave, yes - but also fully present in moments of recall that most of us would have long ago blocked, shaded with brighter colors, or just wholly denied. Brave, yes. And, so much more. May this community always embrace and protect you, my friend, and hold Teresa's memory and spirit in the honorable place it deserves.

And, thank you, Eli, for showing such perception and sensitivity in your writing about this terrible, terrible act.
Posted by Cloudwatcher on June 15, 2011 at 6:41 PM · Report this
25
What a horrific and shattering experience! This story gives me hope that the fragments can be pieced back together, although the gaps will always be present. Excellent telling of this couple's story, it just reminds me that I need to tell my partner that I love him.
Posted by Toddnseattle on June 15, 2011 at 7:17 PM · Report this
vsgirl86 26
Thank you for writing this article Eli, it was very well written. I can't imagine going through that and living to tell about it, she is a very brave woman.
Posted by vsgirl86 on June 15, 2011 at 7:50 PM · Report this
27
@19-- Most of Dan's columns, while well-written, seem to be about superficial people with relatively trivial problems. Those are easy to banter over. A powerful story like this, though, kind of robs me of words. I'd guess it leaves a lot of folks speechless as well.
Posted by Kairo on June 15, 2011 at 7:52 PM · Report this
28
I wish they would've left the pencil in his gut this morning. Let that fucking piece of shit kill himself!
Posted by AverageJoe on June 15, 2011 at 9:12 PM · Report this
29
@26: I second that!

An excellent and well-written article, Eli Sanders!
My condolences to the victims! Their bravery through so horrific an ordeal is highly commendable.

@28:I agree: Here's hoping that misogynist waste of sperm kills himself!
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM · Report this
SeaNative07 30
It's been a long time since I have read anything that hurt this much. My heart goes out to Theresa, her partner, her family and the community.

I've honestly never believed in a purely evil person until reading about what that man did. I want him to take it back and I want him to never see the light of day again.
Posted by SeaNative07 on June 15, 2011 at 11:26 PM · Report this
31
Thank you, Eli.
Posted by Bugnroolet on June 16, 2011 at 7:42 AM · Report this
32
Thank you from St Louis!!! Went to DB with the Butz family, but didn't know Theresa. This story makes me conscious of just how little control we have over our own lives. Random acts of violence by some insane individual are all it takes to change the course of history for a family (Theresa and partern). I'm not a violent person, I"m not a proponent of guns, but here in Missouri we have a conceal and carry law along with the castle doctrine. I'd have much rather read the story with the ending being that Theresa or her partner reached under the mattress to take out their handgun and splattered Mr. K's brains all over the walls of their modest red house.
Posted by Ibentrudaropes on June 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Lissa 33
I spent last evening with some fellow sloggers making signs for Sunday's Slut Walk. One of them will say:
Never Forget Theresa
I couldn't read all of this story, but thank you Eli, it needed to be written.
Posted by Lissa on June 16, 2011 at 9:20 AM · Report this
34
I'm experiencing a paradox: I'm tearing up, close to vomiting... and yet I'm actually feeling gratitude. Thank you Eli for reporting this harrowing story. And thank you to the Stranger for printing it.

The survivor at the center of this tale is indeed incredibly brave. I wish her all the comfort of her family and community, and whatever healing and solace she can find with them. I am in awe of her strength and perseverance.

I'm an atheist, but stories like this make me wish there was a hell. Because no punishment short of Dante's Inferno would be "enough" for this monster. All the same, I hope he's put away for a good long time, and not allowed the opportunity to kill himself. I hope he lives long enough for his own demons to eat him alive.

Let's keep our communities safe, and do all that we can to A) prevent sexual assault and violent crime B) support the victims of those incidents we fail to prevent.

My heart goes out to Ms. Butz's partner. May she one day know peace again.
Posted by Fuaim_Catha on June 16, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
35
I cried through the entire piece. Amazing woman.
Posted by friendofme on June 16, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
36
This is such a devastating story. I can't imagine the courage it must have taken to testify about this nightmare. What an amazing women.
Posted by AEB on June 16, 2011 at 9:41 AM · Report this
37 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
Alex88 38
This story is so sad. I live near where this happened and heard about the attack but never in any detail. I cried the whole article. I feel for her in so many ways. I can't imagine going through anything like that & being so strong afterward.
Posted by Alex88 on June 16, 2011 at 10:21 AM · Report this
39
She is unimaginable. I can't even imagine how she is that brave.
Posted by wowwowwow on June 16, 2011 at 10:29 AM · Report this
40
I am glad you wrote what you did and how you did. Most of the time the word "rape" is used and people can use it as a cover up of the true horror that is involved. The fact that you spelled it out for all to see will hopefully help people to understand that there is NOTHING that can be construed as "asking for" this kind of encounter or anything similar.

This woman has courage beyond measure. The tears that are wept for this woman and her partner hopefully come from the understanding that when she ever says, "I was raped" it doesn't mean she had "uncomfortable sex one night".

Good on you for shining a very bright light on the real meaning of a word that many victims use in lieu of the true and massive violation that many would find far too horrific for polite conversation.

I hope that anyone who reads this and someone has ever confided, "I've been raped"; can now say with much more understanding, "I AM sorry."

I think we are all sorry for this crime and sorry for the existence of any who continue to perpetrate it.
Posted by MelodyJane on June 16, 2011 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Lissa 41
@40: Beautifully put Melodyjane.
Posted by Lissa on June 16, 2011 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Geni 42
Some of the images in this - I kind of wish I hadn't read them. They'll never leave me now. But I think it's important for people to understand what pure evil is. Pure evil is using someone's love for another to manipulate and torture them, as this piece of shit did to Teresa and her partner. Evil. I can think of no other term that works. I will not dignify him by calling him an animal: no animal has that little decency. Even a termite doesn't sink this low.

I know revenge and retribution don't do anything to stop this kind of thing, and won't do anything to bring peace to Teresa's partner or justice for Teresa's death, but good gods, I fight so hard after reading this not to think about drawing and quartering, burning at the stake, flaying alive...sometimes the old ways are the best ways.
Posted by Geni on June 16, 2011 at 1:00 PM · Report this
43
Simply heartbreaking and a great argument for the death penalty.
Posted by TBne on June 16, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
44
Eli, thank you for such a wonderful and heartbreaking account of what happened to these two brave women. I hope the scum who did this to them will be locked in a deep, black hole for the rest of his life.

She is truly the strongest woman in Seattle. I wish I could tell her how brave she is, and that all victims of violent crime thank her for being so.
Posted by SammyKat76 on June 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM · Report this
45 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
46
Thank you so much for writing this, for allowing her story to be told. I hope with all my heart that she is finding moments of peace in her community, friends, family and within her self. What a powerful, incredible human being. I'm absolutely horrified at this, just beyond words...
Posted by Mal on June 16, 2011 at 3:05 PM · Report this
47
Well I probably shouldn't have read this at work. Good thing work supplies kleenex.
Posted by apestyle on June 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM · Report this
48
Thank you for this article and for documenting the amazing strength of this woman. I am in awe of her bravery.
Posted by hd on June 16, 2011 at 4:20 PM · Report this
49
Putting this evil person to death will do nothing but allow him to escape his punishment. It will serve justice better to make him sit alone in a cell, with nothing for entertainment, no books, no music, no tv, nothing to distract him from his memories. Some day, hopefully, his mind will fully begin to understand the horror he inflicted on two loving women. As time passes, he will suffer the pain of knowing what a monster he truly is. Let him sit there, day after day, with no relief, until he dies of old age, full of hatred for his actions on these horific days. Thank you, Eli, for the fine edge of your writing, enough for us to understand the pain, but with enough reserve for us to finish reading to the end. And my embrace of love to Ms. Butz's partner, for her strength in telling this, so that we may understand the courage of these women. Hopefully you will be able to tell us the verdict that was passed down.
Posted by freecyclingmaven on June 16, 2011 at 8:58 PM · Report this
50
Cut to me sobbing my eyes out as I finish this- affected so much more deeply by these women then I thought possible. The details of the crime were horrible, but what broke (and still breaks) my heart were the descriptions of their love- how they were there for each other throughout, how unbelievably unfair it is that they were denied growing old together.

It is obvious that this woman is an immensely brave soul- my heart goes out to her as she learns how to live without Teresa.

How can evil like this exist. How can the police officers stand to touch him.
Posted by wellpaintedpassion on June 16, 2011 at 9:32 PM · Report this
Puty 51
@43 It's an even better argument for putting that son of a bitch through years of extremely brutal, medically supervised torture. I'd kind of like to volunteer to help inflict agony on him. But there's no way to safely administer such justice.

I think it's the same for the death penalty.

Having a death penalty on the books means innocent people get killed by the state. And my understanding is that poorer people of colour tend to be sentenced to death more than wealthier, white people.

My understanding is, it just doesn't work.

That is not to say that the man behind this attack does not deserve any suffering that can be imagined. He certainly does. What a monstrosity this is. I'm so sorry for the victims.
Posted by Puty on June 16, 2011 at 11:26 PM · Report this
52
thank you eli.
Posted by seatown mami on June 17, 2011 at 12:09 AM · Report this
53
@42 shit serves a purpose, this waste of oxygen does not. Drawing and quartering.. well, i like the cut of your jib.
I'd like to think that in prison he would suffer as or worse then he did, so I'm a fan of keeping him alive for as long as possible. Endless torment for the whole of his days. Because that's what the survivor of his brutality will have. She lost her wife.
Posted by Meekrat on June 17, 2011 at 3:03 AM · Report this
seattlegrrrl 54
@ 28 AverageJoe. Ditto! Somebody should just END Kalebu. Why is he in that anti-suicide smock? Fuck, let him hang himself.

I'm so, so sorry that Butz's partner has to go thru the second hell of having to testify in this trial. I hope she finds peace some day.

Don't count on Kalebu "getting what he deserves" in prison. Very often, rapist are separated from the gen pop and put in their own wing. Also, he will most likely have his own cell (not have to share). Yeah, he IS a good argument for the death penalty.
Posted by seattlegrrrl http:// on June 17, 2011 at 3:37 AM · Report this
joon 55
this just goes to show that it's better to fight and die than cooperate, get horribly raped, and then die anyway.
Posted by joon on June 17, 2011 at 5:17 AM · Report this
56
And then, the criminal is not convicted because of the idiotic and wrong events that happened next. I was appalled the prosecutor could let his own feelings about race come out of his mouth, but he did. I am equally if not more appalled at the criminal community that absolutely does protect its own, regardless of guilt or morality. Appalled.

Never live in South Park, never live south of yesler. The people down there want to hurt you and will do it because of your race not being theirs, and then their idiot criminal buddies will alibi for them. I'm scared, as a 20 year capitol hill resident, stuff gets bad enough this far north. I can't imagine living in the middle of coddled criminals who would rather destroy lives than do something with their own, and with their damn useless families and friends who will always shut up than testify.

Bet he'll be a hero in prison too. Raped and murdered. Thats top of the class isnt it?
Posted by certaindoom on June 17, 2011 at 8:07 AM · Report this
57
This was a heart-wrenching story to anyone with a scrap of humanity. Even though I read this in public, I was nauseous and on the verge of tears and I was shaken for the rest of the day. This fuck, this monster, needs to spend a life in prison studying ceaselessly the lives he destroyed.
But how sure are we that writing this was the best idea? Everyone should know what happened, everyone needs to know what this man did and to whom he did it, but Teresa's partner didn't even want her name released. I know I can't imagine the horror this woman must have gone and be going through, but I do wonder whether or not more publicity of this tragedy is in her best interest. If this happened to me, I'm sure I'd want to throw that human terror down into the darkest, smallest hole I could find and try to forget about this forever.
This is our community, Teresa's partner is a member of it. Is this much spotlight really in her best interest?
Posted by gaybabyjesus on June 17, 2011 at 9:04 AM · Report this
58
What #40 said. Thank you, Eli. I shared this with Nancynall.com because your writing deserves a wider audience.
Posted by MTHS on June 17, 2011 at 9:40 AM · Report this
RebR 59
Thank you for writing about these atrocities without being titillating or sensationalist. You've written the truth about what occurred in the courtroom without, in any way, demeaning the victims or their loved ones. I truly thank you.
Posted by RebR on June 17, 2011 at 11:02 AM · Report this
60
I am a soldier. I have walked into gunfire knowing exactly what can happen to me. I have seen others do the same and more.

This woman is the bravest person I have ever heard of. I think she and her partner were lucky to have had the love they did. I wish it could have lasted much longer. I...I don't know what else to say.
Posted by holiday on June 17, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
61
I want to say a lot of things to this woman but I can't think of anything that could possibly help her heal and feel better other than right now I am so sorry that she and Teresa had to endure the hate of that terrible person. I need to stop crying now but I am so pissed at the senselessness of the whole tragic mess, Hang in there girl and hopefully time really does heal.
Posted by An Alaskan Fisherman on June 17, 2011 at 1:29 PM · Report this
62
That scumbag rapist needs to be tortured, and Teresa's partner should have the privelege of
stabbing him to death after impaling him with
a huge log up his butt. "No lube? Too bad".
Posted by aikidokaratefan on June 17, 2011 at 4:13 PM · Report this
63
Eli - I was not familiar with your writing prior to finding this story, but I will be a follower of your news coverage from now on. Thank you for your compassionate and sensitive retelling of these tragic events. As difficult as the words are to read, and as I'm sure they were to hear and even more so for the victim to relive, this is a story that needs to be told as it could easily have been about any one of us. But few of us would have the grace and courage to confront the truth head-on as the surviving victim in this case has done. Eli, I commend you for the compelling manner in which you are telling her story. I have been following the media coverage of these events from early on and while it was obvious from the start that the survivor was a strong woman, it is wonderful to know that she is being publicly acknowledged as "the bravest woman" around. Both Teresa Butz and her partner sound like remarkable women and I mourn among those who knew and loved Teresa although I never knew her. I cannot believe this story has not received more of a national following. Instead, we're barraged by the stories of Casey Anthony and ex-Rep Weiner, both of whom brought their problems on themselves and do not deserve an ounce of public sympathy. The country could stand to know about how the survivor of such horrific evil can courageously recount with such stunning clarity and insight the events and emotions of that fateful day and night. Although she deserves the chance to confront the accused face-to-face, I'm relieved for her that she doesn't have to. Although the facts will speak for themselves, I am afraid the accused will never acknowledge the pain he inflicted on everyone touched by these events, and for that she has my deepest sympathies. In spite of all that she lost, it's amazing that this "bravest woman" is alive to give a voice to what occured in her house that night. Were she not so strong, it could easily have been lost with her. These days, as I listen to the powerful voices of the Angel Band Project, I hug my girlfriend just a little tighter and never pass up any opportunity to tell her what she means to me. Thanks again and God Bless everyone impacted by this.
More...
Posted by xqzamoi on June 17, 2011 at 4:57 PM · Report this
64
I've never read anything so horrifying in my life. I hope Butz' partner and family are able to heal somehow.
Posted by Footloose on June 17, 2011 at 8:28 PM · Report this
aimistrue 65
@34 Thank you for finding the words I was searching for. I feel the exact same way.
Posted by aimistrue on June 17, 2011 at 10:33 PM · Report this
66
OK, first this was a horrible crime and one of my worst nightmares. While you can't make yourself 100% safe there are a few simple things you can do to help avoid waking up with some scumbag looming over you. (BTW I'd like to emphasis I am not assigning any blame to the victims of this article here.)

1. Ladies (and hell everybody), install a deadbolt with a thumb latch on the inside of your bedroom door.

2. Do not leave a window open unless you're on an upper floor. Even then make sure there isn't something criminals can climb up on. (Antoine Dodson anyone?)

3. If you have a window AC make sure to screw it into the window frame with sheet metal screws.

4. Check all door and window locks before you go to bed.

5. Go read #1 again. I cannot emphasis this enough. One deadbolt could give you the time necessary to wake up and escape and/or call the police. A couple of things to note. The inside thumb latch is in case of a fire. Also, make sure to install a reinforced strike plate. If you're renting you could get by with a door security bar. They have them at hardware stores and they're cheap.

Be safe out there, kids.
Posted by Hybrid Vigor on June 17, 2011 at 10:56 PM · Report this
67
You did right by the bravest woman in Seattle, Eli. Thank you.
Posted by alight on June 18, 2011 at 12:18 AM · Report this
68
I had the pleasure of knowing Teresa and she was a wonderful woman. It was impossible not to smile in her company. She was a warm and kind person and always met you with a smile. My heart breaks for what these two women went through.
Posted by rmoi on June 18, 2011 at 12:32 AM · Report this
69
that's fucked up , get a rope !
Posted by whatsbeckgottadowithit on June 18, 2011 at 6:48 AM · Report this
70
This is one of those horrific events that I will always remember where I was and what I was doing the night I heard about it. I remember feeling fear and that my partner and I are vulnerable as we sit in our little house in south Seattle where we see dangerous men lurk on a regular basis.

Dear Bravest Woman in Seattle, I am so so sorry that this happened to you You will always be in my thoughts.

Posted by MG on June 18, 2011 at 10:04 AM · Report this
71
When does the Lifetime movie come out?
Posted by Whiners on June 18, 2011 at 10:14 AM · Report this
slade 72
Good news is the nucking fut is off the street for a time??????

Bad news is its "too late" as Def Leppard would sing it.

But a Nucking fut and not the silence of the lambs.
Posted by slade http://www.youtube.com/user/guppygator on June 18, 2011 at 12:47 PM · Report this
73
I'm a working journalist, got my degree at the U of W and studied with Roger Simpson, who literally wrote the book on covering events of this kind and on being thoughtful and sensitive when dealing with the victims of violence.

I've also sat through trials, none as horrific as this one, but mind-blowingly godawful all the same, and known there was no way to communicate to the readers what actually transpired there. Once, after a closing arguments in a case of a rape of a child, I thought we were having an earthquake until I realized I was just dizzy with shock. There is so much we see, hear and feel we can't write about, out of concern for the victims, or because some things you just can't publish in the kind of community paper for which I write.

Eli's visceral, passionate and human reporting does credit to the profession. It also and honor to the woman who survived and sought justice. It's the kind of reporting that I think should be more common, but isn't, because it requires courage from everyone, from the writer who dares to feel, from the witness who dares to speak and allows the writer to write (and it's clear Eli worked with this woman and made sure she was comfortable with what he would present) and courage from the reader to be exposed to the truth.

I grieve this woman's unbelievable loss. I believe in the love they had. I honor her as the bravest woman in Seattle.

And that's because Eli Sanders may be the best reporter in Seattle.
Posted by Polly on June 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM · Report this
74
I'm a working journalist, got my degree at the U of W and studied with Roger Simpson, who literally wrote the book on covering events of this kind and on being thoughtful and sensitive when dealing with the victims of violence.

I've also sat through trials, none as horrific as this one, but mind-blowingly godawful all the same, and known there was no way to communicate to the readers what actually transpired there. Once, after a closing arguments in a case of a rape of a child, I thought we were having an earthquake until I realized I was just dizzy with shock. There is so much we see, hear and feel we can't write about, out of concern for the victims, or because some things you just can't publish in the kind of community paper for which I write.

Eli's visceral, passionate and human reporting does credit to the profession. It also and honor to the woman who survived and sought justice. It's the kind of reporting that I think should be more common, but isn't, because it requires courage from everyone, from the writer who dares to feel, from the witness who dares to speak and allows the writer to write (and it's clear Eli worked with this woman and made sure she was comfortable with what he would present) and courage from the reader to be exposed to the truth.

I grieve this woman's unbelievable loss. I believe in the love they had. I honor her as the bravest woman in Seattle.

And that's because Eli Sanders may be the best reporter in Seattle.
Posted by Polly on June 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM · Report this
75
This article was extremely well-written. The details are heartbreaking. I cried through most of it. It was hard to read. I really wish that when the scum of the earth is convicted they would receive punishment in the same form as it was given. And then the death penalty. Some crimes just don't deserve just being locked up forever. Then we have to feed, clothe, and give them medical attention. The system is flawed. We treat prisoners that commit this type of crime too well.
Posted by JeopardyQ on June 19, 2011 at 12:29 PM · Report this
76
Hey #66 that was some awesome advice that will really save some lives and/or prevent some shitacular crimes from happening!!! Oh wait....
Posted by Hybrid Vigor on June 19, 2011 at 5:34 PM · Report this
77
Sanders' stern and passionate voice breaks through the ho-hum of journalism of today which often ends up sounding like it was all written by one big robot.

I hardly slept after reading the women's story as told by Sanders, and after I got over the feelings of personal uneasiness I realized that rape as a form of control and torture has a long history on our planet. Whether in war or in the personal dynamic of a socially disturbed individual, this is what women continue to suffer all over the world in many many ways.

For me the story revealed light not because of the details told or not but because it reminds us that we must fight to keep our humanity, just like Teresa did, even in the face of unspeakable horror.
Posted by Cedar on June 19, 2011 at 6:18 PM · Report this
78
Yes, the bravest woman in Seattle. So much love to you.
Posted by earthgodes on June 19, 2011 at 6:28 PM · Report this
79
Yes, the bravest. Much love to you.
Posted by earthgodes on June 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM · Report this
80
It takes real talent to convey something so horrific so beautifully. Well done, Eli.
Posted by SDtoSeattle on June 19, 2011 at 10:08 PM · Report this
81
I was so upset after reading this that I couldn't sleep. At first, I was angry, at Sanders for writing this. I still kind of am, to be honest. On the other, my God, what a brave woman.
Posted by I'm a sugar junkie too! on June 19, 2011 at 10:31 PM · Report this
RainbowBright 82
This was horrifying to read. My god I can't comprehend that one person could inflict so much pain and suffering. On one hand I would like to go on living pretending this sort of thing doesn’t happen but thank you Eli for writing this story.

By sharing this story we are bearing witness to her pain. I hope in this way it helps her to release her burden of this terrifying ordeal. I hope that by Teresa's partner telling this story she can release all her pain and burden onto her community so we can help heal her. She is not alone, Teresa is not alone. May all the safety that is bestowed upon a close knit community, beauty, love, hope and comfort encompass Teresa and her partner. May the light of love and peace shine on her always.
Posted by RainbowBright on June 20, 2011 at 8:30 AM · Report this
83
Thank you for this honoring and truthful telling, Eli Sanders. She is the bravest woman in Seattle and beautifully stands for love and humanity at its best everywhere on this planet of ours.
Posted by sparks on June 20, 2011 at 8:37 AM · Report this
lyllyth 84
I think everything has been said that I would say.

Except:

Teresa -
We will never meet, and I am sorry.
I love you. I love your love, I love your fight, I love your soul - and I hope you are somewhere, continuing to love your partner from beyond, that it is possible...

Teresa's Partner - I love you, even though we have never met. I love your dignity, your grace, your survival, your fortitude, your bravery. I love your bravery. I love your love for Teresa.

I fervently hope that you can find enough love in this world, to feel you are loved by the whole world. That is real. It is true.

I cannot fathom a loss of this nature, personally; but I hope that from the world or karma or whatever natural law exists, you are provided more love than the measure of this loss.

I can think of no one more deserving.
Posted by lyllyth on June 20, 2011 at 2:21 PM · Report this
KaraC 85
The almost matter of fact telling of what happened makes this even more hard to read. What incredible bravery and terrible loss.
Posted by KaraC http://www.facebook.com/karaconnor1 on June 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM · Report this
86
This article was completly insensitive to the survivor and her family. There's a reason that in rape cases newspapers don't publish the details. It shouldn't ever happen. Most people are lavishing praise on Eli Sanders for how well this was written when the focus shouldn't be on him. This victime now has to know that the entire world knows the intimate details of the worst day of her life. This article went way too far and was in no way respectful to the victim.
Posted by denloh on June 21, 2011 at 12:16 AM · Report this
87
Eli, thank you for your amazing piece. Your writing detailed an atrocious evil without sensationalizing. The horrors faced by Theresa and her partner seem too unimaginable to be true. The love shared between these two women helped ease MY pain in knowing what they suffered.

Without a doubt , the victims both have been heard and they imprinted the evil makeup of the attacker. Sometimes we need to know sorrow to experience joy. I pray, and will continue to pray that the survivor and the Butz family find the happiness, overwhelming love and support from friends and from strangers , and never again find pain .

Survivor, you are the strongest person I know. Your beauty, courage and candor - inconceivable . Thank you . I am forever in awe.
Posted by TMApple on June 21, 2011 at 12:34 AM · Report this
88

Teresa Butz's brother, a Tony Award winning actor, wrote and performed a song in her honor, as part of an album dedicated to her memory. Proceeds benefit the charity Voices and Faces, serving victims of sexual violence. The song is just beautiful, and very moving:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx1hiUARD…
Posted by hd on June 21, 2011 at 11:32 AM · Report this
89
Teresa Butz's brother, a Tony Award winning actor, wrote and performed a song in her honor, as part of an album dedicated to her memory. Proceeds benefit the charity Voices and Faces, serving victims of sexual violence. The song is just beautiful, and very moving:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx1hiUARD
Posted by hd on June 21, 2011 at 11:35 AM · Report this
90
as a survivor of a less significant hate crime, I refused to testify against my attacker because of the fear that he'd come find me when he got out of jail... and kill me... I was a coward... and I've regretted it ever since. Thank you for doing what I could never do. I love you unconditionally...
Posted by coward on June 21, 2011 at 11:37 AM · Report this
91

Sorry, don't know why that link didn't work. Here's a better one:
http://youtu.be/Gx1hiUARDsk
Posted by hd on June 21, 2011 at 11:40 AM · Report this
92
I've tried desperately to find news on a national level about this story. Why on earth is this not on the national level? It makes me sick. The only new information I've found about the trial is from last week after the pencil incident. What's happening now, and more importantly - what, as a community, can we do? Do we sit back and wait until KOMO-fucking-news lets us know what's going on for 18 seconds during their evening news segment? I've just never ever in my life felt as compelled as this to take action, whatever that may be. I realize that of course, there is perhaps nothing any of us can do, but...I just want to know that one other person feels the same way and cannot imagine sitting on the couch to hear the decision. I am so glad that The Stranger has kept this at the top of their page, but I fear that any paper who writes about this in the coming weeks will put it in a column on the second page of the paper. Of course, some people are harping on Eli out of concern for Teresa's partner's identity, but in some way, I just want to make her feel a little less alone, even if we never meet. I want her to know that there's an entire community who hears her. I don't want to stand back. I am proposing a call to action. Don't let this story slip under the rug. Let's do something.
Posted by kimhoffman on June 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM · Report this
93
I knew them both. They were new friends of me and my boyfriend. Teresa and my boyfriend instantly clicked, like peas in a pod, and we were looking forward to spending more time with them. My heart aches for Teresa, her partner and all those that knew and loved her. It was a horrific way to die. I hope justice is served and this person can never harm another soul.
Posted by one more on June 21, 2011 at 12:09 PM · Report this
94
This is such a sad but amazing story of love and terror. Well written and very respectful. Thank you Eli.
Posted by Ninjasocks on June 21, 2011 at 3:32 PM · Report this
95
@86, Eli has talked with the surviving victim. She was aware the story was going to be published before it was actually published. If she objected, I am sure she would have stopped it from going to press.

You do not speak for her. She can speak for herself, as she has proven in that courtroom. She is a strong, courageous woman. If this story was published against her wishes and without her consent, do you really believe she would just sit back and let it happen? I don't.

(Unnamed lady, if you're reading... thank you for your courage. I keep you and Teresa in my thoughts every day.)
Posted by haunted leg on June 21, 2011 at 10:11 PM · Report this
96
I've waited a week to comment on your piece, Eli. I started crying when I read it in the middle of the day at a pizza place and have not been able to shake it since. The courage of these women shakes me to my core and the empathy in the telling of the telling of this tragedy makes it so much more real to me. The straight-up news version of it did not move me and that's not OK. Somebody needed to TELL IT and thanks for that. I take one thing away from this- fight, go against everything in your head and fight.
Posted by biggestl on June 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM · Report this
97
They should have armed themselves!
Posted by phil dirt on June 22, 2011 at 9:07 AM · Report this
98
I just read on the times site that he just tried to commit suicide and failed...they should have just let him do it.

What a terrible story, I admire Butz's partner's strength and will to testify so openly.
Posted by robot_rick on June 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM · Report this
99
Holy shit, that was hard to read. Soul crushing. Breaks my heart to hear what these two women suffered through. It's my hope and prayer that this woman find some peace and healing in this lifetime.

As for him, as much as we'd like to forget his name and face, I hope we don't. We have to make sure he is never, ever released on the streets again. It would be a relief if he succeeded in killing himself. He's sick.
Posted by teagirl71 on June 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM · Report this
100
I lived in South Park before these two women did and just want to say that I hope the community and social services in this area have improved since this tragic event. I love South Park and now live in Georgetown.We are neighbors and friends and I pray for teresas parner and commend her for NOT being silent. I hope that your love can be felt far and wide for the lesbian and gay community. We are neighbors and friends people. If you hear something please respond with love and compassion and for Gods sake please call the police when something doesnt seem right, as usually your gift of fear is absolutely correct
Posted by bellaart on June 22, 2011 at 7:05 PM · Report this
101
To see Teresa's brother singing her tribute song, Youtube search for "Goodbye: Tribute to Teresa Butz".

Thank you Teresa. Thank you Teresa's partner. I am so sorry for your pain and loss. Courage like yours inspires me to focus on what really matters even more. Thank you Eli. Best piece of journalism I have ever read.
Posted by joshsox on June 23, 2011 at 11:57 AM · Report this
102
"Putting this evil person to death will do nothing but allow him to escape his punishment. It will serve justice better to make him sit alone in a cell, with nothing for entertainment, no books, no music, no tv, nothing to distract him from his memories. Some day, hopefully, his mind will fully begin to understand the horror he inflicted on two loving women. As time passes, he will suffer the pain of knowing what a monster he truly is. Let him sit there, day after day, with no relief, until he dies of old age, full of hatred for his actions on these horrific days." Agreed agreed agreed agreed agreed. Let the motherfucker rot and waste and despair for as long as possible. Don't turn the lights down, turn them up. Perhaps he will get stabbed and raped and beaten - save him, maybe it will happen again, save him again, over and over. Anything but death. That is way too fucking easy.
Posted by Racing Turtles on June 23, 2011 at 6:13 PM · Report this
103
I heard about this story while in Seattle on a business trip. Our hearts and prayers are with you everyday. You are the bravest woman and I hope that everyone who reads this takes one thing from it: to live every moment and love those around us more than anything.
Posted by connect on June 27, 2011 at 8:13 PM · Report this
104
@56 "certaindoom" brought up race (and obviously is a racist) so I will respond:check your mitochondrial DNA--it only follows the maternal line-- to see if you have any non-White ancestry.Just sayin . . .because if you think non White man has never sexually brutalized any non-White woman on Our Planet,then some genetic-testing results need to be mailed to you.ASAP.
Posted by 5th Columnist on June 29, 2011 at 5:51 PM · Report this
105
She may very well be the bravest woman in the state. There was a lot of love, and horror, depicted in the very well written article.
Posted by Steelyeyes on June 29, 2011 at 11:31 PM · Report this
106
"There, but for the grace of god, go I." This could have happened to any of us. It is the ultimate fear and it was visited upon these two amazing women of character and strength. I remain saddened, shocked, and horrified by the events that unfolded that night. This has been a story that kept unfolding, each level of detail more sickening than the last. The damage this one sick/damaged man has wrought on these two lovely women, he has also spread to our community at large. Miss Butz's partner is our model, that she is alive, able to bear the telling of her story is proof of her bravery. May the survivor continue to do just that, "survive"and continue to feel surrounded by love.
Posted by Nuncia on July 1, 2011 at 12:00 AM · Report this
107
What brave, loving, wonderful partners. What a testament to their love, that they so tried to save eachother. I am so, so sorry this happened to you both. Your bravery and love both are inspiring.
Posted by Delia on July 1, 2011 at 9:45 PM · Report this
108
To all the folks that wish death on the monster.

Do you know what they do to sex offenders in Walla Walla?

Heh. Mofo Deserves life in the pen. Death's to good for him.

He'll reap precisely what he sowed.

Maybe I'm evil for pointing that out, for thinking about it.

But eh, screw it.

These women deserve better than letting the perp off the hook with a relatively humane death. He shouldn't be allowed to die in a better way than the person he raped and killed.
Posted by flamingRedDingo on July 3, 2011 at 8:01 AM · Report this
109
Thanks for sharing this story with us. I live in Houston tx and had not heard of this until a friend posted on Facebook.
Posted by Kimber08 on July 3, 2011 at 4:06 PM · Report this
110
My english is not very good so I won't be long. I was on vacation in Seattle about 2 weeks ago when I entered a coffee shop and grabbed «The Stranger". I don't read much usually. I pretty much read the first lines of the things that interest me and that's it. But I started reading this paper and I just couldn't stop. Of course the story is shocking and traumatising, but the way it is written is amazing I felt like I was in the courtroom. Thank you for your writting and for sharing this horrible but yet inspiring story. I will remember this for a long time!
Posted by Amélie on July 4, 2011 at 5:13 PM · Report this
111
very powerful...wow. - To Stranger web staff however, I personally find it distasteful to have the "lustlab" ad next to this piece...
Posted by cm03774 on August 12, 2011 at 12:33 PM · Report this
112
If you don't support the death penalty after reading this, what the fuck is wrong with you?
Posted by Anonymous Coward (no, a different one) on September 24, 2011 at 11:16 PM · Report this
113
Congratulations on the Pulitzer, Eli. The award is well-deserved.
Posted by pheeeew!crack!boom! on April 16, 2012 at 12:36 PM · Report this
114
Congratulations to Eli on winning the Pulitzer for this article. On a personal level it has stayed in my mind since I read it back in June, and it resulted in me taking self-defense classes.
Posted by congratulations Eli! on April 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
115
Eli, congratulations on the Pulitzer. Your compassion and journalistic integrety shine in this story - just look at the reactions at the time. This story is so heartbreaking and close to home for so many of us and your telling of it has beenutterly respectable. I am also glad that this will bring the story to more people as it shows love and pain that trancends the "laws" of mariage.
Posted by BurningGirl on April 16, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
116
This is so beautifully told -- true art in the telling. Congrats on the Pulitzer deservedly snatched from the big feets.
Posted by Hannah Aron on April 16, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
117
I came upon this article after learning that a local writer had won a Pulitzer prize. Having read this outstanding piece I can say that the award is well deserved. Eli's article detailing what these 2 women went through has left me shocked, outraged, grieving, and numb.
My heart goes out to Ms Butz' partner. Thank you for your strength and all best hopes for you. And to Eli for your incredible reporting.
Posted by still hopeful for us all on April 16, 2012 at 2:10 PM · Report this
118
Sorrow for the women and their families. Respect for the testimony. Thanks to Eli Sanders for the powerful story.
Posted by Unca Mikey on April 16, 2012 at 9:38 PM · Report this
119
Came to your story from NPR as you won a pulitzer for this. I was at work as an RN at a huge trauma center and have seen my fair share of horrible things. This was truly horrific but beautiful to know that this woman came thru so much and how her partner saved her thru some divine grace. Wonderfully wrought story and kudos to the partner she is in my prayers and I hope she lives longs and prospers and has a beautiful family one day that she had hoped for.
Posted by simonsmom on April 16, 2012 at 11:01 PM · Report this
120
Words fail me. A heart-breaking tale that's making me sick in the stomach, my throat is parched and I am all shaky right now.
Posted by Somya on April 17, 2012 at 3:06 AM · Report this
121
To suffer through de-humanizing acts such as rape, torture, and brutality is my biggest fear. For this woman to not only live through it and re-experience it through her testimony puts a deeper meaning in "the bravest woman in Seattle" for me. I will never understand her pain and suffering, but I hope we all can feel the love she gave and received, because that kind of love is what keeps humanity alive.

I hope the compassion that Teresa showed towards her assailant stays with him and be a constant reminder of his evil-doing.

Eli didn't just report about a crime, its victims, and the outcome. He
told a story to evoke emotion out of the readers. I'm glad I came across this article and that he received well-deserved recognition for it.
Posted by emi on April 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Report this
122
Well, I managed to not cry until I finished. And then I broke down, here at the office.

Yes, that is the bravest woman in Seattle.

And yes, Eli, the Pulitzer committee gave you an award you surely deserve.
Posted by David in NYC on April 17, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
123
To Eli Sanders...heartfelt congratulations on winning the Pulitzer Prize for this deeply moving and extremely well-written piece. You truly captured the strength, courage, and deep well of loving-kindness of the victim who lived through the horror. Throughout, the love of one for the other was infinitely steadfast and all consuming. I will keep the victims and their families in my daily prayers. Thank you for the testament to their fortitude and valor.
Posted by seatower on April 17, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
124
Horrible story, beautifully told. Congratulations Eli, you deserved the Prize. Congratulations also to the bravest woman I have ever heard of. I don't cry easily, but this had me in tears.
Posted by Moira on April 17, 2012 at 1:43 PM · Report this
125
This is a sad story beautifully written. I wished the sentence for the murder was heavier. He deserve more than life imprisonment for the things that he has done.
Posted by Train Lee on April 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM · Report this
lawena 126
Their companionship shines through! Mr. Kalebu was, however, a sad reminder of the Mental Health system's (MH) inability to restore Peace and shine the Light. People like him are manipulated by the evils of MH and used as guinea pigs or pawns to control. This man was severely abused by the MH system as well. They are accountable as well.
Posted by lawena on April 18, 2012 at 2:15 AM · Report this
127
What an incredible, devastating, inspiring story of strength and survival. As the victim of an attempted rape I thought I had undergone a horrible trial in my life. What these woman had to undergo makes me feel like the luckiest woman in the world in comparison. The plight of these women has changed me.
Posted by Susannah on April 18, 2012 at 3:59 AM · Report this
128
I guess that I should be kind, but I don't feel kind. Someone should slit that sh_thead's own throat.
Posted by from Seattle on April 18, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
129
Wow! This story is very difficult to hear and hits so close to home. Eli, thank you for sharing her story so beautifully and respectfully and congratulations on the prize. I'm proud to say I worked on my high school newspaper with a Pulitzer prize winner!
Posted by tezz on April 18, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
130
Wow. This piece is so horrifically sad but so beautifully written. I don't doubt the Pulitzer for one second, and I hope now that Mr. Kalebu is locked up that the family and friends of Teresa Butz can find some sort of solace.

Such an amazing piece. I just can't get over it.
Posted by margasaur on April 18, 2012 at 3:05 PM · Report this
131
Horrifying event. delicately retold -with respect for the survivor and her deeply loved partner. related with love and the circumspect view of a compassionate and talented journalist. my tears blurred my view of the article recounting the increasingly horrifying trial - Ms Survivor has my respect and my prayers tho she does not know me. my daughter lives happily in another city away from my protective gaze and my daily hugs.we speak almost daily - but don't think i don't have worry just below all my joy for her adventure. love from all mothers to these daughters.
Posted by greeneva on April 20, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
132
Rock on, Eli! I cried when reading this masterpiece.
Bravo on your Pulitzer and I look forward to your next piece!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on April 22, 2012 at 2:30 AM · Report this
133
Rock on, Eli! I cried when reading this masterpiece.
Bravo on your Pulitzer and I look forward to your next piece!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on April 22, 2012 at 2:30 AM · Report this
Chuck Purdy 134
Kudos to Eli Sanders for the gut punch of reality in allowing us to share the ordeal of this remarkable survivor. The writing reels you in, unable to break free of the hook. Will be looking for other offerings from him.

And thank you Seattle for hosting "The Stranger," an excellent and most welcome alternative reading diversion. You have a new subscriber in Jacksonville, FL who remains unplugged from the mainstream and is a fiend for free thinking individualism. Read about your gifted Eli in our local alt weekly "The Folio" which pops the buckle off the Bible Belt down here and provides a breath of 21st Century thinking in this cesspool of ignorance.
Posted by Chuck Purdy http://facebook.com/​chuxray61 on April 29, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
135
Wow. I'm only a semi-regular reader of the Stranger and I hadn't read this before today. I'm a journalist and a friend and former colleague said, "Did you read the Stranger's piece that won the Pulitzer? I'd recommend against it. It kept me up for days."

Naturally, "don't read it" is the best way to make me look for it. This is an incredible piece and the Pulitzer is well-deserved, but now I wish I'd taken her advice. This is amazing. I both wish I had half this talent and pray I'll never have to cover anything remotely like this.
Posted by J from Oregon on April 29, 2012 at 8:42 PM · Report this
Michael of the Green 136
Dead bolts or locked windows would only have prevented this crime from happening to these particular women. This testimony and coverage was brilliant. I hope it is some comfort to all of Mr. K's prior victims.
Posted by Michael of the Green on May 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM · Report this
137
This story broke my heart so many times, and I think it will keep breaking for Theresa and her partner. I am in absolute awe at the strength this woman had to testify. I hope she can find some shred of peace in confronting this poor excuse for a human being and making him pay for his crimes.
Posted by Octavia "Chingona" Guerra on August 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM · Report this
138
I had to pick a Pulitzer piece to read for my feature writing class. I went through the list of recent winners, read the descriptions and stopped on the one about a rape survivor. I have recently read that the fear of rape is something women across the world carry through their lives and have in common, and I wanted to fight my fear. Especially, after I saw a stranger hiding in my backyard at 2 a.m. exactly a week ago and has been shaken ever since.
Dear Eli, I am 26 and I am a regular reader. I've read stories, books, I've seen footages and read detailed descriptions of massacres. I grew up in a culture where one has to be tough. But the last words of your story made me cry like never before. I don't know how long it took me to calm down and feel the reality again. Your story ripped my soul apart.
I just want to thank you for your talent. From the depth of my heart and through the tears I still have in my eyes, thank you.
Posted by Nigar Fatali on September 4, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
139
I agree with everyone who has already written, above. I was shaken not only by the bravest woman in Seattle and her story, but also how Mr. Sanders told the story.
I wanted to add only one more thing to the list of comments that I don't believe has been said yet. It could have been called, "The Two Bravest Women in Seattle." Every time I think of Teresa's last minutes. How she knew her own fate, and spent the last ounce of strength she had left in her body saving the woman she loved so much. Through every single minute of the ordeal, like all of you, I kept thinking -- what would I have done??? I have been in that kind of situation but I was alone, and the reaction to throw myself against a wall and pound and scream, unnerving my attacker, turned out to be right -- but if someone had a knife to the throat of someone you loved???? I can't imagine. The more I heard about Teresa, the more I loved both of them, for finding each other. You're both the bravest women. Thank you Mr. Sanders, for bringing such a beautiful love story to light.
Posted by Jane 51601 on December 13, 2012 at 10:14 PM · Report this
140
A touching story, wonderfully told with great sensitivity. Great job, Eli.
Posted by Sri on January 29, 2013 at 8:20 AM · Report this
141
The vital importance of Eli's extraordinary story of Teresa and her loving Partner's last days together...is as simple as...now 3 years later I sought out the happenings of this awful abuse and travesty, not knowing why I was even prompted, only to learn that there are those among us who have weathered, endured and survived far more of life's horrible abuses than you and I. For that, my pain is humbled as I cry, while taking pride in this ultimate survivor's ongoing strength and resilient earth angel spirit!!!! Barb
Posted by Barb Peterson on August 13, 2014 at 8:39 PM · Report this

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