Criminal Court Jury Clears Former Chattanooga Bartender Of Rape Charge

Friday, October 11, 2013
William Michael Butler
William Michael Butler

A Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon cleared a former Chattanooga bartender of a charge of rape.

The jury in the courtroom of Judge Barry Steelman ruled William Michael Butler, 25, innocent at the close of the three-day trial.

Bulter took the witness stand, saying that the alleged victim had initiated the sex after he got up to look for his cell phone in the Dec. 3, 2010, incident. He said it happened after he went into the spare bedroom of his girlfriend's house, where the alleged victim was sleeping.

He said he lied to police by denying that he had sex with the young woman because he did not want his then-girlfriend to find out.

Butler, who now works as a bartender in Knoxville, said the alleged victim was a friend of his girl friend of three years. He told the jury he was not fond of the woman and he did not like the way his girlfriend acted when she was around. He said he often "butted heads" with the alleged victim.

He said that night the woman was staying at their residence on Old Dallas Road, rather than drive home after having some drinks. He said he carried the girl from a couch in the living room to the spare bedroom, then joined his then-girlfriend in their master bedroom.

Butler told the jury that when he went into the spare bedroom the woman said something and reached out to him. He said he got closer to hear what she was saying and she grabbed him by the arm. He said she put one of his hands on her breast and then grabbed his private area.

He said he got in bed with her, then he got spooked when he heard a noise because his then-girlfriend was still awake. He said he checked it out, then got back in bed with the visitor. After that he said he went back to the master bedroom and watched TV with his then-girlfriend.

He said he was later awakened by his then-girlfriend "freaking out," saying that the other woman was charging that he had raped her.

The alleged victim said Butler came into her room while she was asleep, pulled her to the side of the bed, and started to rape her. She said she was very groggy at this time from a combination of alcohol, sleep, and previously getting sick. She said Butler heard a sound and left, and that she then curled up under the blanket, confused at what had happened. Shortly after, she said Butler came back and raped her again.

The victim said after this she was terrified and she fled the house. She left behind everything but her purse and her phone, running barefoot to her car. Not long after, she was pulled over by a police officer for having a tail light out. She immediately told the officer that she had been raped, and she went with him to the police station so that he could file a report.

A rape kit was also collected, and DNA found on Butler matched the DNA of the victim.

Butler was represented by attorney Dan Ripper.





Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, BRAD DEWAYNE  2821 3RD AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 37 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- ADKINS, KENDRA R  132 PARKS DRIVE FORT OGLETHORPE, 30742  Age at Arrest: 19 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank ... (click for more)

Travis Caslin, 42, Shot While Walking Along South Willow Street

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot on Friday night while walking along South Willow Street.   The victim was identified as Travis Caslin, 42.   At 7:37 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers were called to a local hospital after a person showed up with a gunshot wound.   Police were informed that the victim's condition was non-life threatening. ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s All About People

The leaders of Hamilton County’s Mental Health Court held a heart-warming open house Friday afternoon and it was announced that just since February, the creation has saved the county over $3 million in incarceration costs. But to hear County Mayor Jim Coppinger or Judge Don Poole tell it, that’s not what is important. “Soon after the court started, a kind, quiet man I’ll ... (click for more)

Mocs Fall 20-14 To Visiting Citadel

The Chattanooga Mocs fell just short in a 20-14 heart-breaker against The Citadel. It was a hard-fought game that went the full 60 minutes.   The Mocs defense stiffened and gave their offensive teammates a shot late in the fourth quarter. The Citadel marched 41 yards, churning out 5-plus minutes of game clock. Tae Davis dropped Grant Drakeford for a 3-yard loss at the Mocs ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Alabama Smashes Tennessee 45-7

Tennessee, a 34-point underdog in one of college football’s better long-running series, stayed close for one quarter before top-ranked Alabama switched to another gear and pummeled the struggling Vols, 45-7, Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The rock-ribbed Crimson Tide defense locked down Tennessee’s ground game, hounded quarterback Jarrett Guarantano relentlessly ... (click for more)