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.




Police Chief Fletcher Announces Picks For Top Leadership

Police Chief Fred Fletcher Wednesday made his picks for top leadership, releasing the names of 15 newly promoted individuals from within the Chattanooga Police Department. This announcement comes several weeks after Chief Fletcher was appointed.  “I am honored to announce today’s promotions," said Chief Fletcher.  "Together these individuals have served our community ... (click for more)

Corker Says Probe To Point Directly At Russia

Appearing on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown on Wednesday to discuss the missile strike on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, Senator Bob Corker said the investigation is “going to point directly at Russia.” He said there is bipartisan support for the U.S. “to act alone without Europe” in expanding existing sanctions against significant Russian entities in the energy, financial ... (click for more)

The Truth From Weston’s Sister - And Response (3)

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Say It Ain't So, Larry Joe!

Larry Joe Wheelon, the tainted horse trainer who was charged with 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty when his barn was raided in April of 2013 and some animals were sored so badly that they could barely walk, finally went to a court hearing in Blount County on Wednesday and his steps toward Judge Tammy Harrington’s bench were decidedly heavy. My goodness, yours would have been ... (click for more)

Mocs Picked First In SoCon Polls

The Chattanooga Mocs football team is the pick of litter in the Southern Conference. Coming off its first league title since 1984, the SoCon coaches and media deemed the Mocs the team to beat in 2014.   “It means we have good players,” Head Coach  Russ Huesman  said. “There is a long way to go from now until late November (when the regular season ends). ... (click for more)

Soddy-Daisy's Wright Commits To MTSU Baseball

Soddy-Daisy’s Andy Wright, a rising senior and dual-threat player, has made a non-binding verbal commitment to play baseball at Middle Tennessee State University. Wright, a pitcher/third baseman, chose the Conference USA Blue Raiders over Belmont, Air Force, Navy, UT-Martin and Carson-Newman. “I’m glad to get this (decision) off my back so I can enjoy my senior year,” Wright ... (click for more)