SACRAMENTO — Sheriff’s Homicide detectives have arrested Neven Glen Butler, 18, of North Highlands for the murder of 86-year-old Fusako Petrus, who died protecting her friend, and two counts of assault with intent to commit rape.
Butler was already in custody on unrelated assault and elder abuse charges from an arrest on April 26.
A little after 6 a.m. on April 26, the Sheriff’s Communication Center received a 911 call advising two females were being physically assaulted near the running track at Highlands High School. Deputies responded to the scene and located two female victims.
Deputies made contact with Petrus, who was unresponsive. They immediately began life-saving measures. Sacramento Metro Fire responded and pronounced her dead at the scene. The second female victim was 61 years old and was medically treated at the scene.
The two victims commonly walk in that area for exercise. The 61-year-old victim was initially attacked by Butler. When Petrus heard the commotion, she attempted to assist her friend by hitting Butler with her walking stick. The suspect then drew his attention to Petrus. He sexually assaulted both victims before causing the injuries that ultimately took Petrus’ life. Butler fled on foot towards Walerga Road after the assault.
In the later afternoon hours of April 26, the Sheriff’s Department was called to an assault that occurred in the 2200 block of Northrop Avenue in Sacramento. Unprovoked, Butler physically assaulted a 92-year-old female victim, causing facial injuries. She was transported to a local hospital.
Butler was still on the scene when deputies arrived. He was taken into custody without incident, and booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail on felony assault and elder abuse charges.
After further investigation, detectives have been able to connect Butler to the scene of the sexual assaults and the murder of Petrus. Butler was add-booked for murder and two counts of assault with attempt to commit rape. He is ineligible for bail, and was arraigned on these new charges in Sacramento Superior Court on May 1 after being arraigned April 28 before Judge Richard Sueyoshi for the attack on the 92-year-old. His next court date is June 8.
According to CBS Sacramento, the former football player, who stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 180 pounds, showed no emotion while in court. Butler’s court-appointed defense attorney, Linda Parisi, said that he has “serious” mental health issues.
Butler was a student at Highlands High from August 2015 to December 2016 and was on the school’s football team. He was previously enrolled at Oakmont High in the Roseville Joint Union High School District from August 2013 to February 2015.
The Twin Rivers Unified School District said in a statement on April 28, “We are relieved and grateful that authorities have a person of interest in custody. At the same time, we are shocked to learn that the individual is a Twin Rivers dropout who last attended classes in December 2016.
“Our immediate concern is with the victims and their families. They face a long road of grieving and will need the support of the entire community. We know you join us in keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.”
A day after the attack, Petrus’ neighbors started a memorial with flowers and candles in front of her home.
Petrus was originally from Kyoto and worked as a cashier at Sacramento’s McClellan Air Force Base until her retirement. Her late husband, Alfred, was in the military, and the two were avid bowlers. He died from Alzheimer’s disease in 1997 at the age of 78.
Julia Ortiz told KCRA that she first met Petrus in 1971. “Her and her husband had lived in the house down the street. They had been here a few years before my parents bought the house.”
“She was a very giving person,” Ortiz said. “One of the neighbors down the street — his wife was very ill. And she was out there every day trying to help her out of the wheelchair and walking. She still to this day, until last Monday, was helping him take his trash out to the road because he’s in a wheelchair now.”
That neighbor, Lloyd Miller, said of Petrus, “She was … just like a sister to me. She was a wonderful person. That’s all I can tell you.”