Isaiah M.K. Kalebu: DC Sniper Redo

Isaiah M.K. Kalebu

Isaiah M.K. Kalebu

The DC Sniper was “known to police” in Pierce County, WA for domestic violence.  Isaiah M.K. Kalebu was also “known to police” in Pierce and King Counties, WA for domestic violence.  But, he kept slipping through the cracks.  The timeline created by the Seattle Times is chilling even though it doesn’t include Kalebu’s first alleged crime:  breaking into the Auburn, WA city hall on March 27, 2008.  DNA and videotape at the scene of that unsolved crime provided the link to the rape and murder of Teresa Butz and the rape and attempted murder of her domestic partner.

The hero in this story is a bus driver who recognized Kalebu’s pit bull and alerted Seattle police.

The goats in this story are King County Judge Brian Gain, who repeatedly allowed Kalebu to be released, and the Pierce County authorities who didn’t arrest him for burning down his aunt’s home.  She had a domestic violence protection order against Kalebu.  The latter are the same folks who failed to protect Crystal Judson Brame from her estranged husband David, Tacoma, WA’s chief of police.  So, it is no surprise they let the DC Sniper slip through the cracks as well.

Three people are dead this month.  A fourth was recently released from the hospital.

Yes, the cops and prosecutors did an amazing job after Teresa Butz’ murder.  The Seattle police department set up a command post in her neighborhood.  As you can see, Ms. Butz is white.

Teresa Butz

The rest of Kalebu’s victims were black.  First, there was his mother Denise who got a restraining order against him two days after he allegedly broke into the Auburn city hall in March, 2008.  The next day he threw a rock through his sister’s window.  He was arrested for felony harassment and domestic violence.  On August 21, 2008, he was released into the care of his aunt Rachel.

On July 9, 2009, Rachel’s home was set on fire in the wee hours of the morning after she’d gotten her own order of protection against Kalebu.  She and her tenant, former NFL quarterback John Eddie Jones, died in the fire.  Although Kalebu was an obvious suspect, he was never arrested by Pierce County authorities.

Rachel Kalebu home

On July 10, Kalebu missed the pretrial hearing on the criminal charges arising from the case involving his mother.  Judge Gain refused to issue a bench warrant.

On July 13, prosecutors asked Judge Gain to remand Kalebu into custody in light of the arson and homocides at Rachel’s home.  Again, Judge Gain refused.

On July 19, Ms. Butz and her partner were brutally raped and stabbed.

On July 25, Kalebu went before pro-tem Judge Karli Jorgensen, who saw the wisdom of setting bail for Kalebu at $10 million.  He will go on trial in August for threatening to kill his mother.

We often think of domestic violence as a crime between lovers or spouses.  Yet, in this case, the victims were a mother, a sister, an aunt, a friend of the family, and two complete strangers.  Domestic violence may start at home, but it ultimately terrorizes us all.

Update:  Mr. Kalebu was found guilty of murder, rape, and robbery on July 1, 2011.  He will spend the rest of his life in prison.  The prosecutor opted to forego the death penalty because of Mr. Kalebu’s mental state.

Eli Sanders at The Stranger won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his article about the testimony of Teresa Butz’ domestic partner (who survived the attack) at the trial of Isaiah Kalebu:  “The Bravest Woman in Seattle.”  Her chilling testimony is recounted in detail in Mr. Sanders’ blog posts:

7 responses to “Isaiah M.K. Kalebu: DC Sniper Redo

  1. Pingback: Bravo Mayor Bloomberg: Taking on Gun Control Lobby « Anne Caroline Drake·

  2. I hope someone has sent this hyperlink to King County Judge Brian Gain. What does it take… We spend millions of dollars every year as a nation on housing non-violent criminals for things such as possesion of marijuana under an ounce, but we can’t put this repetative voilent offender behind bars until he has killed, over and over and over….

  3. Thanks for your comment, Casey.

    If this post makes you angry, try reading Mildred Muhammad’s book SCARED SILENT.

    The Tacoma Police Department ~ run by David Brame ~ didn’t even try to arrest the DC Sniper for domestic violence and kidnapping. Nobody in law enforcement cared about the abuse Ms. Muhammad experienced until it was time to put him on trial for the murder in VA.

    How many people are dead???

  4. I hear you, Stan, and agree with you. He should have been locked up a long damned time ago.

    In cases like this one, Ihave to remind myself that a life sentence forecloses any opportunity for him to get off on a technicality.

  5. Anne drake you need to mind your own fucken business , you have no idea what you are talking about. You have just jumped on the band wagon like everyone else just to add your useless one cent. No one cares about your opinion you are just flapping your lips with nothing worth hearing you are just a busy body with nothing better to do. Isaiah didn’t burn down nobody’s home if he did don’t you think he would have been charged for that crime? I have an idea how about you shut the fuck up about isaiah and dig your skeletons out the closet and share those with the world !!!’ Dumb ass idiot!!!

  6. Ms. Kalebu,

    If you have an issue with this post, I suggest you take it up with the Seattle Times which reported on July 29, 2009 (

    “July 9: Kalebu is questioned and released in connection with an arson/homicide in Pierce County involving his aunt and her tenant.”

    My criticism in this post is focused on the criminal “justice” system in Pierce County which allows WAY too many domestic violence perpetrators to slip through the cracks. The net result is that hundreds of people are dead ~ including your own relatives.

    While I am sorry for your losses, I’m not responsible for your pain.
    Anne Caroline

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