The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.
South Park murder defendant refuses to attend court hearing
Posted by John de Leon
-- From Times staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan:
Isaiah Kalebu, the man suspected of raping two women and killing one in their South Park home last summer, refused to leave his jail cell Wednesday morning to attend his competency hearing in King County Superior Court.
Judge Michael Hayden rescheduled the hearing for 8:45 a.m. Friday. He warned defense attorneys that if Kalebu continues to refuse to leave his cell he will order the defendant forcibly removed from the cell and brought to court.
Kalebu, 24, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree rape and first-degree burglary in the attack on Teresa Butz, 39, and her 37-year-old partner on July 19. Butz died in the attack.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced in April that he will not be seeking the death penalty against Kalebu. Satterberg said he believes "a jury would be justified" in finding that Kalebu should not be executed because of his "documented history of mental illness."
Last month, Kalebu was ordered to receive a mental-health evaluation at Western State Hospital. If he is ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial, he will be sent back to Western State for treatment aimed at restoring his competency.
During a court hearing last month, Kalebu told Judge Hayden that King County Jail corrections officers were poisoning his food and he hadn't eaten in nearly two weeks.