Features Jun 15, 2011 at 4:00 am

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

Aaron Bagley


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.
"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.
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.
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.
Thanks for sharing this story with us. I live in Houston tx and had not heard of this until a friend posted on Facebook.
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 Β«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!
very powerful...wow. - To Stranger web staff however, I personally find it distasteful to have the "lustlab" ad next to this piece...
If you don't support the death penalty after reading this, what the fuck is wrong with you?
Congratulations on the Pulitzer, Eli. The award is well-deserved.
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.
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.
This is so beautifully told -- true art in the telling. Congrats on the Pulitzer deservedly snatched from the big feets.
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.
Sorrow for the women and their families. Respect for the testimony. Thanks to Eli Sanders for the powerful story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I guess that I should be kind, but I don't feel kind. Someone should slit that sh_thead's own throat.
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!
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.
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.
Rock on, Eli! I cried when reading this masterpiece.
Bravo on your Pulitzer and I look forward to your next piece!!
Rock on, Eli! I cried when reading this masterpiece.
Bravo on your Pulitzer and I look forward to your next piece!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A touching story, wonderfully told with great sensitivity. Great job, Eli.
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
I was assigned to read this article for a class last year and it stuck with me. Eli did an incredible job at sharing Teresa's heartbreaking story, without holding back. It has been three years but from reading this story multiple times I believe Teresa is not only the bravest woman in Seattle but also one of the bravest women in the country.

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