Prayers, forgiveness and heartbreak echoed through a King County courtroom Friday as the friends and loved ones of Teresa Butz addressed Isaiah Kalebu, the man who raped and killed her in her South Park home two years ago.

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Prayers, forgiveness and heartbreak echoed through a King County courtroom Friday as the friends and loved ones of Teresa Butz addressed Isaiah Kalebu, the man who raped and killed her in her South Park home two years ago.

Afterward, Kalebu was sentenced to prison for life without parole for that crime and for the rape and attempted murder of Butz’s partner, Jennifer Hopper.

Hopper, who barely survived being raped and repeatedly stabbed that night, faced Kalebu and told him, “I do not hate you.”

“I realize there is nothing I can say to you because I did beg you for my life and she begged you for her life,” Hopper said, staring at Kalebu as he leaned back, expressionless, in a restraint chair. “I’m so sorry for whatever it is in your life that brought you to this. I am glad that you will never be able to hurt anyone else again.”

Kalebu, who is mentally disturbed but was found competent to stand trial, broke into the couple’s home through an open bathroom window as they slept the night of July 24, 2009. Neither woman knew him.

During wrenching testimony at trial, Hopper told jurors she thought she was dreaming when she awoke to find Kalebu standing beside their bed. He held a knife to her throat and assaulted them.

Butz, she testified, managed to hurl a nightstand out the window during the attack and jumped out the window, causing enough of a distraction for a bloodied and dazed Hopper to escape out the front door. Butz died from her injuries.

Norbert Butz, the slain woman’s father, called Kalebu’s actions “diabolical” but added, “We’ve dealt with it, we’re fine, we’re a strong family.”

“Teresa was the ninth gift from God out of 11 children,” the St. Louis man said emotionally. “I’m not excusing him, I’m not forgiving him but I’m praying for his soul.”

Kalebu spent most of his trial in a separate room, restrained, watching the proceedings on television after repeatedly disrupting the case. At one point, the trial was postponed because he tried to swallow a pencil in an apparent suicide attempt.

During the trial, Kalebu told jurors he was inside the South Park home because he was “told by my God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to attack enemies.”

“I tried to show you humanity and any shred of goodness you could see,” Hopper told Kalebu on Friday. “I wish I could say to you that I have not been broken … you took so much from me. I will fight every day the rest of my life to be whole again.”

Hopper spent nearly six hours on the witness stand reliving the assault. Last week, in an essay published in The Stranger titled, “I Would Like You to Know My Name,” she revealed her identity and detailed her struggles.

“At the end of the day, there is nothing that can make this wrong right again. No final words or punishment can undo what’s been done,” she wrote. “So as I prepare to close this chapter … and begin my walk into the next chapter, I want to look, as much as I can, toward the positive, toward the future.”

In the article, Hopper once again said it was Butz’s calm in the face of horror that saved her life. In a 2009 interview with The Times, Hopper — who was not identified by name at that point — said, “It was ultimately Teresa’s bravery and ability to think physically that saved my life.

“She was extraordinary.”

In addition to aggravated murder, Kalebu was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree rape for the attack on Hopper. A jury also found him guilty of first-degree burglary, for breaking into the couple’s home.

During much of the pretrial proceedings, Kalebu was strapped to a restraint chair but still managed to interrupt and curse trial Judge Michael Hayden.

On Friday, Kalebu remained silent when Hopper spoke to him but became agitated, swore and disparaged gay marriage when the judge spoke kindly to Hopper about her wish to someday marry the woman she loves.

Kalebu did not ask for leniency or explain himself. However, remarks by Jim Butz, the slain woman’s brother, moved him to speak.

“Isaiah, I know that I’m a sinner. I have no right to judge you,” said Butz, who is studying to become a pastor. “I hope I see you in heaven, I’m serious.”

Kalebu replied, “I’ll see you there.” He followed up by telling Butz, “God bless you.”

Kalebu’s lawyers had little to say in his defense Friday, except to thank Butz’s family and Hopper for being gracious toward their client. Defense attorney Ramona Brandes said that an appeal will be filed.

Pierce County sheriff’s detectives will now resume their investigation into a 2008 University Place arson that killed Kalebu’s aunt and a tenant.

Rachel Kalebu, 62, and John Jones, 57, were found dead after an early-morning fire at their house in the 5500 block of 64th Avenue West in University Place. Kalebu had been living in the house until the day before the fire, when his aunt asked him to leave and filed for a domestic-violence protection order.

“There is no other suspect,” said sheriff’s spokesman Detective Ed Troyer.

“We were working the case when he was caught up there. Now that they’re over and done with, we’ll look at what we have and work with the detectives up there.”

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or