Killearn Rapist Sentenced To Life In Prison

UPDATED by Julie Montanaro
July 9, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A Tallahassee man -suspected of three rapes in Killearn - is now headed to prison.

Jake Butler was convicted of raping a woman at knife point at the Cypress Point apartments in 2010.

The woman says he posed as a maintenance man and then assaulted her before apologizing on his way out the door.

Butler did not speak at his sentencing hearing. The victim did.

"Today the two of us remain on opposite sides of something will affect both of our lives forever ... the scales of justice," she said. "I ask you that you please give him the maximum sentence so he never has a chance to do this to anybody else."

The judge called Butler a danger to society and sentenced him to life in prison.

Butler is scheduled to stand trial for another sexual battery in September.

Prosecutors say Butler was suspected in a third rape in the same neighborhood, but was never charged in that case.


Updated 7.18.2012 6:30pm by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is convicted of rape and it took the jury just 35 minutes to reach its verdict.

Jake Butler could now be facing life in prison. A jury found him guilty on all charges and he could be tried for another rape before all is said and done.

The jury went out at ten minutes to eleven. It came back at 11:25 with six guilty verdicts for accused rapist Jake Butler.

"We the jury find the defendant Jake Butler guilty as charged," the clerk said as he read each verdict aloud.

The verdicts: guilty of armed burglary, false imprisonment and four counts of sexual battery. The charges stem from a knife point attack at Cypress Pointe apartments in May 2010.

"I didn't know what he would do. I didn't know him. I didn't know what he was capable of," the victim testified Tuesday.

The victim identified Butler in a photo line up and in court. A one in 12 quadrillion DNA match - DNA taken from semen in the victim's hair - put Butler at the scene.

The six guilty verdicts could send Butler to prison for a long time.

"I'm asking for life. I will settle for nothing less than life and if he doesn't get it then we're going forward with the next one," prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said afterward. The "next one" is the sexual assault of a 17 year old in Killearn Acres. Butler is charged in that case too.

Defense attorney Leonard Holton said even though Butler spent months at the state mental hospital after his arrest, he had been found competent to stand trial.

The defense had no further comment on the verdict, but the victim in this case did.

She said "I want anybody watching this to know that if this happens to you or someone you know. it's important to report it and prevent it from happening to someone else." She went on to say "It has been a difficult two years but the feeling today of getting justice was worth all of the pain because he will never to this to anybody again."

The judge did not set a sentencing date yet. We'll keep you posted on that.

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Updated 7.18.2012 12:40pm by Julie Montanaro

The victim released a handwritten statement:

"I want anybody watching this to know that if this happens to you or someone you know it's important to report it and prevent it from happening to someone else. It should be second nature to protect not only yourself but other people in your community. It has been a difficult two years but the feeling today of getting justice was worth all of the pain because he will never do this to anybody again."

The jury found Jake Butler guilty on all six counts against him: one count of armed burglary, four counts of sexual assault and one count of false imprisonment.

Butler faces a maximum of life in prison and the state says it will seek the maximum penalty.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Butler's attorney chose not to comment.

Butler still faces charges in a sexual assault in Killearn Acres. It was reported about a month before this one.

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Updated 7.18.2012 11:34 am by Julie Montanaro

There is a verdict in the sexual battery trial of Jake Butler.

The jury deliberated for 35 minutes.

Guilty on all charges.

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Updated 7.18.2012 10:50 am by Julie Montanaro

The jury is now deliberating in the sexual battery trial of Jake Butler.

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Updated 7.18.2012 10am by Julie Montanaro

"She made the choices she needed to make to stay alive," prosecutor Georgia Cappleman argued. "The knife is what gave him the power."

The prosecutor argued the victim's testimony was corroborated by lots of physical evidence including a one in 12 quadrillion DNA match, a knife mark on her neck, and a paper with her phone number found in Butler's locker at work.

Defense attorneys argued there are several inconsistencies in the victim's story and the evidence. Leonard Holton pointed out that Butler's fingerprints were not found on the bottle of cleaner the victim claimed he used to clean up afterward, and he questioned why analysts did not test the victim's clothes or carpet for DNA in addition to her body.

He also asked the jury to question why the victim let Butler in her apartment if he did not wear the trademark blue shirt worn by maintenance men in her apartment complex. He asked if it was possible Butler could have gone to her apartment for another reason.

The victim got up and abruptly left the courtroom in the midst of the defense's closing arguments.

Prosecutors rebuffed any suggestion that the victim knew Butler or consented. "She is not a liar," Cappelman said.

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Updated 7.17.2012 9:45am by Julie Montanaro

The judge asked Jake Butler if he wanted to testify and Butler said no.

The defense then rested its case without calling any witnesses.

Attorneys are now making closing arguments to the jury.

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Updated 7.18.2012 9:30am by Julie Montanaro

The state has rested its case against Jake Butler.

Its final witness this morning was Butler's former fiance,Rebekah Walton. Walton and Butler lived together at a home in Killearn Acres at the time of his arrest.

Walton testified that Butler left for work that morning and then planned to detail a car. She says the two had an appointment at 3 o'clock that day and she was waiting outside for him when he pulled up in her Odyssey van.

Walton testified she saw Butler throw something out of the window of the van. She says she asked him about it and he said he had taken a knife with him because one of the guys at work had threatened him and he needed protection.

Walton says she walked down the street and retrieved a black handled butcher knife. She says she put it in the sink.

When police searched her home a few days later they confiscated several knives, but Walton says that knife was not among them. She says she has no idea what happened to that knife.

On cross examination, Walton admitted she didn't tell police about the knife at first and initially told police Jake Butler was with her when the sexual assault occurred. She said she was in denial that Butler could have done it.

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UPDATED 7pm by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man accused of two sexual assaults in Killearn is now on trial for one of them. Jake Butler is accused of attacking a woman in her Cypress Pointe apartment in spring 2010.

Investigators say the victim picked Jake Butler out of a photo line up as soon as his picture hit the table and she identified him again today in court.

"I felt someone put their arm around my neck and they had a knife there," the woman testified.

The victim testified the man holding that knife was Jake Butler.

He posed as a maintenance man, she said, and proceeded to sexually assault her in her own living room.

"Did you think about running or trying to defend yourself?"

"No. I didn't know what he would do. I didn't know him. I didn't know what he was capable of. He didn't cover his face," the woman said.

"Were you afraid for your life?"

"Yes. I knew there was no way he could let me live.... I saw his face," the woman said.

The woman did live. When it was over and Butler left, she drove straight to Tallahassee Police Department.

An FDLE crime lab analyst later testified the semen in her hair was a perfect match to the DNA of Jake Butler.

"The swab from the hair that was semen-positive matched Jake Butler," analyst Nadine Flanagan said.

"Did it match at how many of those markers?

"It matches it all. it matches it all," Flanagan testified.

The victim testified that Butler tried to clean up the carpet with window cleaner before he left. He asked for her phone number and repeatedly apologized.

"He put his head in his hands and then he went, 'I can't believe I just did this. I'm so sorry," the victim recalled.

A latent fingerprint examiner says she did not find Butler's fingerprints on the bottle of window cleaner. She also testified she did not find Butler's prints on the computer printer from which the victim claimed Butler retrieved a piece of paper.

The state has at least one more witness to call in the morning. Then it will be the defense's turn. There's no word yet if Butler plans to testify.

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Updated 1:30pm by Julie Montanaro

An FDLE crime lab analyst testified that she tested a swab taken from the victim's hair. It tested positive for semen, she said, and its DNA was a perfect match to Jake Butler.

Analyst Nadine Flanagan testified that the DNA matched Butler's DNA at all 13 markers. She says the chances of finding another person with this same DNA profile was one in twelve quadrillion. That's more people than live on the planet earth.

Flanagan says she also tested DNA from Butler's twin brother. She says the twins were fraternal, not identical, so their DNA samples were different. Flanagan says she compared the brother's DNA to the DNA taken from the semen sample and excluded him as a donor.

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Tallahassee, Florida - July 17, 2012 - Noon -

A Tallahassee man is now on trial for sexually assaulting a woman at knife point. Jake Butler is accused of two rapes, one month apart,
but those cases must be tried one at a time. The first one started today. Eyewitness News Reporter Julie Montanaro was in court when the victim took the stand.

The victim was the first witness to take the stand. She described in painful detail how Jake Butler put a knife to her throat and forced her to the floor.

Butler is accused of assaulting the woman at her Cypress Pointe apartment in May 2010. The victim trembled as she described how the man she thought was a maintenance man assaulted her repeatedly.

She says afterwards, he asked for Windex to clean up the carpet and apologized repeatedly before he left.

The woman testified she had mace in her apartment, but was afraid Butler would kill her if she tried to fight back because he made no attempt to hide his face.

The defense tried to suggest that others had access to the woman's apartment like other maintenance men with keys and questioned why she got on a plane and went to see a friend graduate the next day.

The woman says she was trying to get as far away from Tallahassee as possible.

After lunch, they expect a DNA expert to take the stand.

We'll be there and bring you updates on Eyewitness News.

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Updated 10:20am by Julie Montanaro

The young woman testified that she felt the man's arm around her neck and he had a knife. "He told me to do everything he said."

The woman said the knife was larger than a kitchen knife. She said after the man assaulted her, he ejaculated in her hair and on the carpet. She says he asked for some Windex to clean it up.

The woman said she had mace not far away, but she "didn't want to take the risk." She said "I saw his face, he didn't cover his face" and she was afraid he would could kill her.

She testified that the man apologized repeatedly before he left and kissed her hand and mouth.

She testified that she drove straight to the police department and they took samples from her hair and clothes and sent her to the hospital.

The woman testified she worked with a police sketch artist to craft a sketch and later picked Jake Butler out of a photo line up almost immediately.

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July 17, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

Jake Butler is now on trial for a rape in Killearn in the spring 2010.

Prosecutors say Butler posed as a maintenance man and a young woman allowed him into her apartment at Cypress Pointe.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman says Butler sexually assaulted the woman repeatedly at knife point and apologized on the way out. Prosecutors claim there is a DNA match to prove it.

The defense attorney warned jurors not to get "swept up in the emotion" of this case. "It will test your ability to be fair and impartial," defense attorney Leonard Holton said, but he reminded jurors to do just that.

The victim is now on the stand. She says the man followed her to the breaker box in her room and put a knife to her throat.

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UPDATED 7.16.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Jury selection is underway for a man accused of raping two women in Killearn back in the spring of 2010.

Jake Butler is expected to stand trial starting Tuesday.

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UPDATED 3.26.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A judge has deemed Jake Butler competent to stand trial for a pair of 2010 rapes.

Judge Charles Dodson set his trial for July 16th.

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UPDATED 2.15.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A man accused of multiple rapes in Killearn could soon stand trial for it.

Jake Butler was accused of two sexual assaults back in the spring of 2010.

One was at the Cypress Point apartments and another was in Killearn Acres.

Butler has been at Florida State Hospital receiving treatment since soon after his arrest.

Today, prosecutors revealed doctors have now found Butler competent to stand trial.

A judge will issue a ruling at a hearing later this month and Butler will be scheduled for trial July 16th.

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Updated 6:10pm 1-14 by Jennifer Milton

A man accused of raping two women in Killearn last year is found incompetent to stand trial.

26 year old Jake Butler has been ordered to seek treatment at the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee.

Officials from the state attorney's office say Butler was evaluated by two doctors. One diagnosed Butler with bi-polar disorder and the other doctor said Butler showed signs of schizophrenia, but didn't officially diagnose him with it.

Doctors say Butler did suffer an injury to his brain following a car crash several years ago. Butler allegedly raped both women at knife-point and then apologized to them afterward.

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A Tallahassee man accused of two sexual assaults will stand trial for it this fall.

25 year old Jake Butler appeared in court this morning. The judge scheduled his trial to begin November 1st.

Butler is accused of sexually assaulting a 17 year old in Killearn Acres in April and a woman at a Killearn apartment complex in May.

He's a suspect in a third attack too, but has not been charged in that case.

Butler is accused of slipping through a sliding glass door and assaulting the 17 year at knife-point in her own home.

In the attack at Cypress Point, Butler is accused of posing as a maintenance man to get into the woman's apartment.

At the conclusion of both attacks, victims say Butler apologized before leaving.

Butler is also a suspect in another sexual assault in Killearn Acres, but he has not been charged. An FDLE spokesman says DNA results in that case are still pending.


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