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Accused South Park killer to undergo mental evaluation
Posted by Jennifer Sullivan
A man accused of torturing and raping two women, and killing one of them, in their South Park home last summer, was ordered back to Western State Hospital for 15 days to determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.
Lawyers for the defense and prosecution agreed that Isaiah Kalebu's mental competency should be re-evaluated after a defense mental health expert recently found him incompetent. King County Superior Court Judge Michael Hayden on Tuesday morning ordered the mental evaluation.
Kalebu's lawyers had him re-evaluated by a Seattle mental health provider after an outburst during a court hearing last month, when Kalebu announced that he was "a political prisoner" and "King of America."
If Western State mental health experts deem Kalebu competent to stand trial he will return to court for a hearing before Hayden, in which the judge will rule whether he is well enough to be tried. If Western State officials determine he is not mentally competent, he will remain there for 90 days, prosecutors said.
Earlier this summer, Kalebu was deemed mentally competent to stand trial on the charges of 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.
During a court hearing in May, Kalebu told Hayden that King County Jail corrections officers were poisoning his food and he hadn't eaten in nearly two weeks. Earlier this summer, Kalebu underwent a mental-health evaluation at Western State Hospital, where doctors found him to be competent to stand trial.
Prosecutors and police say Kalebu crawled through an open bathroom window at the women's home around 1:30 a.m. July 19, 2009, stripped naked and awoke the two victims. The women were raped repeatedly, and slashed with a knife, prosecutors said.
Butz managed to hurl a nightstand out the bedroom window, charging papers said. She jumped out the window, creating enough of a distraction for her partner to run out the front door.
Butz later died. Her partner survived.
Kalebu's trial had been scheduled to begin in November. However, the mental evaluation will likely force the trial to be postponed until next summer, prosecutors said.
Because of Kalebu's "documented" history of mental illness, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is not seeking the death penalty in the case. If convicted on the aggravated-murder charge, Kalebu will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or early release.