Eli Sanders is the associate editor of Seattle’s weekly newspaper, The Stranger. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 2012 for his reporting on the murder of Teresa Butz. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Seattle Times, The American Prospect and Salon, among other publications.
Sanders is the author of the gripping true crime book,"While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Decent into Madness." It received a starred review from Booklist, American Library Association.
*Starred Review* The facts of the story are that on a steamy July night in 2009, Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper were asleep in their modest South Seattle home when Isaiah Kalebu broke in and then savagely raped both women, murdered Teresa, and nearly killed Jennifer. The full context for these crimes is one of a profusion of broken mental-health, social-services, and criminal-justice systems that inadvertently facilitated the marginalization of a young man almost from the time of his birth, resulting in his collapse into madness. As clearly as the reader learns of the circuitous but seemingly destined path that brought lovers Teresa and Jennifer together, so, too, does the reader discover the equally labyrinthine trajectory that thwarted Isaiah and his family at every turn: marital discord and parental abuse, drug addiction and escalating crime. Sanders won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting of Teresa's murder. Now he uses his journalistic acuity to fine measure as he creates a page-turning indictment of a perfect storm of preventable events. Handled with delicacy and delivered with a powerful sense of both dismay and compassion, Sanders offers an unflinching portrait of the human casualties of one city's and, by extrapolation, our country's overburdened health-care and judicial systems.