Man Who Brutally Murdered Elderly Japanese-American Woman Will Not Face Death Penalty

Neven Butler, the man accused for beating an elderly Japanese-American woman to death and sexually assaulting her friend, will not face the death penalty, according to Sacramento County prosecutors

Fusako Petrus, 86, was walking on the Highland High School track when Petrus’ friend was attacked and sexually assaulted by Butler, 18.

Petrus stepped in to help and attacked Butler with a small walking stick. Butler then turned his attention onto Petrust and began attacking her — she died at the scene.

“She died trying to help her friend,” Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Tony Turnbull was quoted as saying.

Just a few hours later, Butler attacked a 92-year-old woman in the Arden Arcade neighborhood, inflicting great bodily injury and “unjustifiable physical pain.”

Prosecutors are currently seeking a life sentence in prison without parole against Butler, citing Butler’s age, who turned 18 days before the attack, lack of a prior criminal record and documented mental health issues.

Linda Parisi, Butler’s court-appointed counsel, called the prosecutors’ decision to not pursue the death penalty “an appropriate decision” based on her client’s “significant mental health issues.”

Butler is scheduled to appear in court again on December 5th.

Fusako Petrus’ is survived by her niece Kaoru Imai who lives in Osaka, Japan, as well as her family and friends in the United States. According to her obituary.

“Born September 7, 1930 in Kyoto, Japan, Fusako Matsumoto Petrus died in North Highlands CA on April 26, 2017 at the age of 86. In the early 60’s Fusako got a job at the base exchange (BX) in Tachikawa, Japan where she met Alfred “Pete” Petrus who was stationed at the Airforce base. They married in 1962 and in 1964, when Pete was transferred to McClellan AFB they moved to North Highlands, CA. Fusako again got a job at the BX where her co-workers nicknamed her “Pete.” She received awards for being the friendliest cashier and worked at the BX for 20 years before retiring. In 1985, Fusako received her naturalization status and was proud of her US Citizenship.”

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