$10 million bail set in Seattle stabbing case

Seattle Attack
Police booking photos of Isaiah M.K. Kalebu from June 2009, left, and August 2008. AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A judge Saturday set bail at $10 million for a man accused of breaking into a south Seattle home and stabbing two women, one fatally.

Fingerprints and bodily fluids tied Isaiah M.K. Kalebu, a 23-year-old man with a history of mental illness, to the July 19 attack, police said.

Investigators said Kalebu crawled through an open window at the home in Seattle's South Park neighborhood and attacked Teresa Butz, 39, and her 36-year-old partner. He stabbed both women, Seattle police officer Dana Duffy wrote in a probable cause statement made public Saturday, and their 3 a.m. screams awoke neighbors.

Butz died after fleeing through a bathroom window and running into the street, naked and covered in blood. Her partner ran out the front door, also naked and blood-soaked, and at a hospital a few hours later gave police a detailed account of the attack.

Neighborhood on edge
Residents were on edge for days as police tried to identify the assailant. On Friday, after investigators released surveillance video of a suspect with his pit bull, a bus driver spotted Kalebu and the dog near Seattle's Magnuson Park and called 911.

There appeared to be blood on his green jacket when authorities arrested him, Duffy wrote.

Kalebu appeared for a bail hearing Saturday afternoon at the King County Jail, where he is being held for investigation of murder, rape, attempted murder and burglary. Prosecutors have until Wednesday to file charges, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County prosecutor's office.

Authorities said Kalebu also is suspected in a July 9 fire that killed his aunt, Rachel Kalebu, 61, and a man who lived in her Tacoma-area home south of Seattle, former NFL quarterback John Eddie Jones, 57.

After the fire, King County prosecutors asked Superior Court Judge Brian Gain to revoke Kalebu's bail in a separate harassment case — one in which he is accused of threatening to kill his mother. The judge declined, Donohoe said.

‘He lied, he lied’
Six days later, according to police, he attacked Butz and her partner.

As she was dying, Butz told a neighbor, Albert Barrientes: "He told us if we did what he asked us to do, he wouldn't hurt us. He lied, he lied."

Investigators said Kalebu remains the only person of interest in the fire at his aunt's home in University Place. Authorities have been awaiting lab results in the case.

"When we saw the video of the suspect with the pit bull, all of our hearts down here skipped a beat," Sgt. Ed Troyer of the Pierce County sheriff's office, which is investigating the fire, told The Seattle Times. "Unfortunately, we didn't have enough to arrest him."

The harassment charges Kalebu faces stem from a March 2008 incident in which he is accused of threatening his mother after she confronted him about not taking prescribed medication for "bipolar and manic-depressive" conditions.

Kalebu told his mother, "Enjoy your last day on earth," and left the house, only to return the next day and throw a large rock through the windshield of her car, a police affidavit said.

A state psychologist evaluation in 2008 found he "did not have the capacity to rationally understand" the case against him at that time.

Butz is the sister of the Tony-winning Broadway star Nobert Leo Butz, who has a lead role in the new musical "Catch Me If You Can" based on the 2002 Steven Spielberg film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Preview performances of the musical at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre were canceled after the slaying. The performances are scheduled to resume Tuesday.