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.




Sign Up To Get The Latest News, Opinions From Chattanoogan.com In Real Time; Win Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Sign up for our Facebook and Twitter feeds and you will get the  local news in "real time." You will also be entered for a chance to win the complete set of the Chattanooga Photo Books published by Chattanoogan.com. We will give away three sets of The Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga to our new Facebook ... (click for more)

Lookout Mountain, Ga., Passes $2 Million Budget Without Tax Increase: Line Item Included For Long-Planned New Town Center

The Lookout Mountain, Georgia City Council, at a special called meeting Thursday night.  adopted on final reading the budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 that will go into effect on July 1. There will be no property tax increase in the roughly $2 million budget. However, there will be an increase in the garbage fees because the Walker County landfill has increased what it charges. ... (click for more)

Tom Edd Wilson Was A Great Visionary

We want to add to the many heart-felt messages that have been expressed regarding the recent passing of Tom Edd Wilson, a truly great visionary.    While he made his mark on many local organizations, Tom Edd will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who worked closely with him at Erlanger.   We benefited greatly from his steady guidance, leadership ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Leaders Stand ‘Way Back’

Franklin McCallie, a former principal at Howard School and the maverick in one of Chattanooga’s finest families known for education, delivered an impassioned speech before the Hamilton County Commission on Wednesday. Sadly, his remarks came after the commissioners had passed the FY2018 budget that has no financial methodology for the Department of Education, much maligned in the ... (click for more)

Inclement Weather Forces Cancellation Of Thursday Night's Lookouts Game

Not only was Tropical Storm Cindy responsible for the cancellation of Tuesday's Southern League All-Star Game, but now the storm has also resulted in the cancellation of Thursday night's game at AT&T Field with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The First Half North Division Champion Lookouts announced that Thursday's (6/22) game has been postponed due ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)