The Mind of Kalebu

What the Alleged South Park Killer Was Thinking

Comments

1
Wow what a deeply distrubing story. First my condolences to the families of the murdered ladies. Secondly it seems that serious bad judgement was made in allowing this indivdual to be on the streets. No one can make someone take their meds unless they are in a facility, the fact that Mr Kalebu had previously refused his meds seemed to have been passed aside. I think it all boils down to money. There are no funds for programs and geez it costs money for people to get treatment. The US really needs to sort out is medical situation and get equal treatment for all citizens. Start taking the billions from the pharma companies and the insurance companies and give it back to the people who need it most...In this case Mr Kalebu. Very sad indeed for all people concerned
2
This is a tragic story for everyone involved. Because of an antiquated computer system and both a prosecutor's and judge's lack of common sense, a woman in now dead. Repeatedly, experts stated concerns over this man's mental stability and saw him as a serious threat to society. How could he have been released, only to commit such a vicious crime against two innocent women? The system needs to change...NOW. It's too late for Teresa, though. May she rest in peace.
3
For decades we've cut away at social services, mental health services, and the Superior Court system budgets. Even when the economy seemed to be flying and civic coffers were flush with real-estate fees, still we cut and cut and cut. No big deal. We must have thought it was worth the risk. And who was telling us of the risk, anyway?

The judges, every single year, made cuts based on the trimmed budgets they were given. Then, every single year, they prepared and delivered a careful report to our appointed and elected officials about the mounting effects of such vital services being lost. They pointed out the possible consequences of the old computers, the paltry staff budgets especially in the mental health court system, the overcrowded daily judicial dockets, telling us over and over that we risk miscarriages of justice by continuing to cut their budgets when the police and prosecutors were bringing them more defendants than ever.

And now budgets are being trimmed drastically in the downturn. And we recoil in horror from one of those miscarriages of justice, where Judge Gain had to apply the law based on inadequate information and a man who'd grown deadly slipped away.

There are more people out there, you know, needing the sort of serious mental health care to which only the rich have access any more. They feel the pressure. They're getting older but still can't get work. And they're feeling more isolated, estranged from families that can't handle them any more. They're thinking about buying a pit bull and a knife, to get some company and feel safer.

Yeah, safer. It's time to cut the budget again, isn't it?
4
"For decades we've cut away at social services, mental health services, and the Superior Court system budgets."

Really? than why do my taxes to King County keep going up?

Kalebu's biggest mistake, apparently, was murdering someone who fits the The Strangers' readership demographic.
5
guder or whatever your name is, what are you talking about? How did the prosecutor lack common sense? He warned against releasing the man and then asked to have him locked up again? So please, use your commone sense and tell me how he lacked it? Or better yet, just read the article and actually pay attention.
6
There are a thousand story's like this one from the past ten years in western Washington.

I was bored two paragraphs into the article as I have read this story a million times it seems in my life.

"Violent morons!" Sick! healthy! Drunk! need to be locked up and given a very stiff zero tolerance probation.

Its Americas "Its O.K." to be a violent nut! a gang banger! a criminal in general! and repeat car thief who steals a car to go to court for stealing 3000 cars?
To "run" and just knock down old women until one dies from the injuries?

Even the D.C. Sniper had his fun in Seattle and Tacoma before the two nuts went to D.C.?

The sex offenders? Hang it up!

Though I have read it a million times and I cant read the crap anymore I'm happy someone still tells the story? could be maybe in a few decades some one who can do something about it will?

7
Eli, once again you have moved me to tears with this tragic story. Thank you for such dedicated reporting. My heart breaks for those close to this horrible crime and you've managed to tell the story in a truly human and compelling manner.

8
Thanks for telling the parts of the story that no one else dares to.
9
Well written, well researched and a great piece of investigative journalism. Cheers to the Stranger for doing what traditional newspapers have stopped doing.
10
Well-written and well-researched. Excellent piece of journalism on a complex topic. I just read some other pieces on what's recently happened out at Eastern State, none of which demonstrated anywhere near the understanding of the mental health system that you were so effectively able to convey in this article. Bravo.
11
Eli--is it just the KC computer system? For instance, would someone in Snohomish County have been able to instantly access reports from Pierce County? My sense is that none of the counties have easy access to other county's electronic records (to the extent that they could retrieve the full police report, etc).
12
Eli, I have been truly impressed by the depth of your coverage of this story and your apparent devotion to it. The events you’ve covered are disturbing, sad, a little terrifying and important to know. Thank you for such excellent and seemingly comprehensive work.
13
Our treatment (or lack) of mental illness stems from a perfect storm that happened in the late 70's and early 80's - the convergence of bleeding-heart liberals wanting to mainstream everyone (including the clearly psychotic), and heartless cheap-ass conservatives wanting to cut all social services. We used to be able to commit individuals who were clearly a danger to society. Now, due to changes in the laws, even if there were places for them (which there are not, thanks to draconian funding cuts), it's very difficult to involuntarily commit someone and hold them there.
14
Our treatment (or lack) of mental illness stems from a perfect storm that happened in the late 70's and early 80's - the convergence of bleeding-heart liberals wanting to mainstream everyone (including the clearly psychotic), and heartless cheap-ass conservatives wanting to cut all social services. We used to be able to commit individuals who were clearly a danger to society. Now, due to changes in the laws, even if there were places for them (which there are not, thanks to draconian funding cuts), it's very difficult to involuntarily commit someone and hold them there.
15
Our treatment (or lack) of mental illness stems from a perfect storm that happened in the late 70's and early 80's - the convergence of bleeding-heart liberals wanting to mainstream everyone (including the clearly psychotic), and heartless cheap-ass conservatives wanting to cut all social services. We used to be able to commit individuals who were clearly a danger to society. Now, due to changes in the laws, even if there were places for them (which there are not, thanks to draconian funding cuts), it's very difficult to involuntarily commit someone and hold them there.
16
Sorry for the deja vu all over again. The comment box kept hanging!
17
Excellent article. Finally a thorough perspective on this man from the Seattle media.
18
In the late '60s and early '70s I was involved socially with an attorney who took credit for doing a lot of the scut work involved in "freeing" folks from mental institutions.

He was quite clear that the desired end result was to be a doubling or tripling of the health care professional population needed to deal with the released population on the street.

His belief and those of his associates and enablers was that these new government employees would be Democrat voters and would enlarge the government bureaucracy.

I have seen nothing to dissuade me from believing him.

Interestingly he died some years ago from injuries suffered after being attacked on the street by some "homeless" folk when he did not have enough money to satisfy their panhandling request.

Also interesting, to me, was that I was the only one of that group of acquaintances to note the irony of the manner of his death.

19
A little less than two years ago, I worked as a therapist for Sound Mental Health. I had an average of 90 chronically mentally ill adults on my caseload. Many had been violent towards themselves and others. My job was to keep these 9o people on their meds, off of the drugs and out of the hospital and/or jail. I had to have a Masters degree to have the job. I was hired at 14.25 an hour.
One day, I was in line at the food counter at Costco. The person at the front of the line being served was having a conversation with the food worker behind the desk. The customer being served asked the food worker how much he made working for Costco. "15.50 an hour. Not bad for serving pizza!"
This is our Mental Health care system. It makes me weep.
We are trying to unionize to bring our caseloads down and increase pay, thus attracting and keeping competent therapists.
The community deserves better than this.
My deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Ms Butz.
20
Such a monstrosity...My condolences to all of the families involved. Unfortunately there is no quick fix for the financial component. Others have already touched on how things can so easily fall through the cracks with and antiquated system.
Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Lawyer
21
i say give that motherfucker the death penalty.an eye for an eye.end of story.fuck him!
22
Does anyone know what happened to Indo?
23
Excellent story. Lots of detail and research that paints a more complete picture.

Has it ever been reported how/why Kalebu allegedly picked the home of Teresa Butz and her partner? How did he know he would find two women asleep there? Did he follow them home from somewhere? Or was the home picked at random?

I guess it doesn't matter at this point, but it's one question I have had all along, and I haven't seen it answered in local coverage (or maybe I overlooked it).
24
This story was pathetic. I too was bored after reading a few paragraphs of the story. You spent a good 3 pages writing about what a bad bad man Kalebu was. This story was suggestive to say the least. It was written more from an opinionated standpoint than informative. RARELY did you bring the things that may have drove this man to a possibly pyschotic state, but you didn't miss ONE chance to talk down about him. What's more important, your opinion or the facts? Since when did an evaluated opinion of someones pyschological well-being become TRUTH. Who are we to judge anyone but ourselves? I bet you would tell me you weren't crazy if I told you that you weren't competent too...

My heart goes out the the families that lost a loved one. This is a lose-lose situation for us all.
25
end that p.o.s.
26
Interesting that this article fails to mention that 2 people were killed in the fire at Rachel Kalebu's house. The other was a former NY Jets back-up quarterback in the 1970s. Why was this information not included in this story?
27
" 2 people were killed in the fire at Rachel Kalebu's house. The other was a former NY Jets back-up quarterback in the 1970s. Why was this information not included in this story?"

Because they were black and black people don't read the Stranger.
28
Wow. An antiquated computer system and an over worked judge are accomplices in the murders of 2 women and the violent rape of another. Yet somehow KCSO can afford to fly helicopters over the river harassing inner tubers in the height of summer. And what about that tank thing that hasn't moved from it's parking spot since the P.A.T.R.I.O.T Act was enacted. I feel deeply for the 2 women that died and the others he harmed. I am sorry our system has failed you, it is up to us to be advocates for a better way. Sell that tank thing and buy a new IT Department for the County.
29
@22: Thanks for asking - that was my question too. What happened to his dog Indo??
30
The surveillance tape was posted here on Slog some time ago, and was referenced in this story. What's the story of the this tape? Is there some other charge levied against Kalebu not mentioned in your story? Why did police have this tape if some suspicious behavior was not reported?
31
@30: Great question, complicated answer.

The surveillance video you're talking about comes from a burglary at Auburn City Hall on March 27, 2008. Police never caught the suspected burglar, but they had a video of him (and his pit bull), as well as DNA evidence from blood he left at the scene.

Even though the case was never solved, that DNA was stored by the state crime lab. More than a year later, when DNA from the murder scene at Teresa Butz's house was sent to the state crime lab, it ended up matching the DNA from the old Auburn burglary.

Because the DNA was linked in crime lab records to the Auburn surveillance tape, police then had a video of their suspected murderer. But still no name.

So they released the surveillance video, asked the media to play it and post it online, and very quickly a number of people—including deputy prosecutor Zac Hostetter, police officers who responded to the bus incident in Des Moines, and Kalebu's own mother—recognized Kalebu and called Seattle police detectives who were investigating the Butz murder.

Seattle police then put out Kalebu's name and more images of him, and within a couple of hours he was recognized by a Metro bus driver in north Seattle. That driver called police, and Kalebu was taken into custody shortly thereafter.
32
@29 and 22: When Kalebu was arrested, Indo was taken into the custody of animal control officers.

As I understand it, the dog will remain in their custody until Kalebu's trial is finished (unless some other arrangements can be worked out sooner, like Kalebu officially relinquishing custody of the dog or a family member offering to take care of the animal).
33
@29, 22 and 32: Indo was indeed taken to the Seattle Animal Shelter after Kalebu's arrest. After nearly two months of legal wrangling the city finally gained legal custody of Indo about Sept. 20th. He has been renamed Enzo and is currently in foster care. He will be available for adoption shortly. Having worked with Enzo since the city took control of him I can say what a sweet boy he is. He is truly a stereotype buster. Who would have thought a 90lb intact pit bull could be such a gentle creature.
34
Eli - any word on why Kalebu targeted those two women in particular? Was it entirely random - just an open window? Did he have any previous knowledge that the house was home to two women?
35
@34: Unfortunately, that is one of the big remaining mysteries in this case.
36
I am a 54 years old Ugandan. I knew Rachel Kalebu, Kalebu's Aunt, who died in the fire. Unfortunately her death seems not to have been investigated. I strongly believe the Kalebu family in the United states know more of what transpired between Auntie Rachel and her nephew but they are probably not telling. We would love to hear that side of the story as well. Her blood is also crying out. She was such a lovely kind hearted lady. I attended her funeral vigil in Kampala Uganda, a woman of substance. Let the world follow her story as well and if it is the so called meniac who was obviously sick who killed her let him narrate that story to the public and declare himself guilty. He was declared very " intelligent". He has a normal streak about him and he knows exactly what he did. He is not totally mad. I know the Kalebu family very well. The grandparents and the Grandmother who passed away. I attended her funeral as well. The Granfather of Kalebu had a very good record and is in all the good books in the history of Uganda. I am very touched about the Kalebu story. There is a lot of good about the Kalebu Family that out weights the evil that that young man committed to ruin such lovely name and family. I am sorry.
37
>Born in the Seattle area, he lived with both of his parents—his father, an immigrant from Uganda, and his mother—until he was about 14 years old.

Why are we blaming this on our social services when it’s clearly the fault of our immigration policy?
38
@13 Chalking it up to "bleeding heart liberals" and "cheap-ass conservatives" is a highly inaccurate oversimplification. Don't apply your modern filters to the past. Besides, there's a simpler explanation: chemistry and moral values.

The 50's gave us the first effective treatments for severe depression (imipramine), bipolar mania (lithium carbonate), and schizophrenia (chlorpromazine), plus new, much safer ones for anxiety and epilepsy. It doesn't sound like a big deal from today, but this was a game changer. A honest-to-goodness medical miracle.

We also tend to believe that warehousing people in asylums is not in and of itself a good thing. The population in long-term mental institutions alone was massive in the 50's, about the size of a major city. Think a little less than Boston. It was not trivial. It was not right. It also cost a hell of a lot of money, but until the 50's there was no real alternative.

39
Fast forward to today:The big mental hospitals didn't close as a result of budget cutting; they closed closed because they didn't have any business. For the vast majority of people, deinstitutionalization worked out pretty well.

Where Kalebu "fell through the cracks" isn't because we don't have many big mental hospitals. The hole is in acute care. Someone with a heart attack can show up to any ER, be admitted in a flash, sent to a surgery, intensive care, cardiology. Someone in a florid psychotic state can show up to any ER and get nada. Even if (by some miracle) there's an emergency psychiatric service there, the goal is to evaluate and stabilize. There are few options for even short-term involuntary commitment (homicidal and suicidal), and there are few options for voluntary treatment, much less involuntary treatment, in the community.

(There are, just in case you're wondering, good reasons why involuntary treatment or commitment isn't a trivial exercise, but cheap-assedness certainly comes into play here. The severely mentally ill are not a sympathetic constituency, and those that would be acutely ill, but for the grace of God, are invisible and vote their wallets like everyone else).

I don't agree with all that he wrote, but Sanders really hit the nail on the head here. He just doesn't extend it to the next logical point - sure, Kalebu received emergency evaluation and treatment. But "letting him go" was pretty much the only available outcome, and it wasn't discretionary. He was no longer psychotic, had no criminal record, was reasonably compliant with meds, and therefore had no business at any acute care service. We choose to provide little subacute care and craptastic outpatient care. That one's on us.
40
just found out that this guy worked for us @ one point about 2 months before the dreaded day. wow!
41
Does anyone know if the computer system the county has already been given the money for has been updated yet?
42
Does anyone know if the computer system has been updated yet?
43
@ 39, your comments are dead on! I work in the mental health feild, have for over ten years now. I have seen people that NEEDED to get emergency mental health treatment. they were either released because these patients know what to say to get out of hospitals, or were medicated to stability and discharged with no follow-up services. It is a serious dis-service to both the community at large and the patients that we do not have follow up or wrap around care for individuals who are decomping like Mr. Kalebu was.
44
I prepare court files in a local, criminal court. I can tell you that it's incorrect that the prosecutor did not have access to the info about the protection order filed by the aunt. In the 15 years I've been preparing court files for arraignment we have always had access to AOC (and now the windows version, called JABS), which shows in real time all court orders filed in WA state. We routintely print these and provide them to the judge at arraigment. If the prosecutor's office case prep did not do this, it was not because they couldn't. They have the exact same access I do, as do clerks, judges and release screeners. Also, police reports don't have to come by snail mail - the prosecutor could have called the jail to get a fax copy of the police probable cause superform, required at all bookings, rather than awaiting a call back from the police records department for the more lengthy police report. I send and receive these documents every day, usually within minutes of asking for them as the jails are 24 hour staffed operations. The superform details what happened leading to arrest. Lazy case prep or a lazy pros, or both, not faulty computer systems, were at work here.