Seattle stabbings trials begins without defendant

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Trial for a man accused in the brutal raping and stabbing of a lesbian couple in Seattle is underway -- without the defendant present.

Judge Michael Hayden barred Isaiah Kalebu from attending the trial due to his repeated, profane outbursts in several pretrial hearings. The 25-year-old is charged in King County Superior Court with the 2009 attack on Teresa Butz and her partner at their home in the South Park neighborhood. Butz is credited with helping stem the attack by throwing a metal table through and window and then diving out it, allowing her partner to escape.

Butz collapsed and died in the street as stunned neighbors tried to help her.

The judge has said he will reconsider allowing Kalebu in the courtroom if he promises to behave. He told jurors before opening statements Monday afternoon that whether or not Kalebu is present has no bearing on his guilt or innocence.