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.
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