A King County District Court judge found probable cause on Tuesday to hold a 48-year-old man on investigation of assault for allegedly stabbing a stranger for sitting too close to him on a Metro bus on Christmas Eve.
David V. Butler was arrested at his Capitol Hill apartment on Monday night and is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.
According to the statement of probable cause outlining the Seattle police case against Butler, the victim boarded a Metro bus with a friend around 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 24 and sat near the back of the bus. Seated behind them was Butler, who told the other man “he was sitting too close to him,” but the man ignored him, the statement says.
Soon after, the two men began arguing “about the victim sitting too close to the defendant,” at which point Butler got out of his seat, stood over the other man and repeatedly stabbed him in the chest and neck, according to the statement. When the bus stopped at Third Avenue and Marion Street, Butler got off the bus and walked away, it says.
Medics took the wounded man to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, including a lacerated liver and a large cut his neck, the statement says.
A detective obtained video surveillance footage from the bus and released a still photo of the suspect to local news media in an attempt to identify him, says the statement. The detective received several tips, including a one from someone who provided Butler’s name.
On Monday, the detective received a call from an attorney who said she was representing a client who wished to turn himself in for the Christmas Eve stabbing on a bus; she declined to identify her client but said he’d surrender Tuesday at noon. Also on Monday, the detective got a call from the manager of Butler’s apartment building, who said one of his tenants had confessed to him that he’d committed the bus stabbing, the statement says.
Later that day, the detective and other officers went to Butler’s apartment, where he surrendered to them and acknowledged that he had planned to turn himself in the following day, according to the statement.
Butler waived his appearance in court on Tuesday, with his second appearance scheduled for Thursday, according to King County prosecutors.