2 charged in attack on in-laws
Athens man, nephew accused of rape, kidnapping, robbery at couple’s home
By Holly Hollman
ATHENS — An Athens man and his teenage nephew are facing rape, kidnapping and other charges for a Sunday morning attack on the man’s in-laws, Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said.
The sheriff said Tommy Wayne Butler, 29, was camping with his family at Cowford Campground on the Tennessee River when he got angry at his wife and stepchildren.
Butler left his wife and stepchildren and drove with his nephew to a home in eastern Limestone County, Blakely said.
Blakely identified the nephew as Michael Wayne Butler, 16, of 13510 Blackburn Road in Athens. The home they went to belongs to Tommy Butler’s father-in-law and mother in-law.
Blakely said Tommy Butler woke the couple up at 3 a.m.
He told them his wife was in the car, was upset, and wanted to talk to her mother. Blakely said his 49-year-old mother-in-law went outside with him.
Michael Butler allegedly attacked her husband, threatened him with a knife, held him face down and tied him up, Blakely said.
Tommy Butler then allegedly pulled a knife on his mother-in-law and told her he would kill his wife and children, Blakely said.
He took her inside and allegedly raped her, and Michael Butler allegedly sexually assaulted her, Blakely said.
Tommy Butler and his nephew stayed about an hour, torturing the couple with threats of cutting their throats while they assaulted the mother-in-law, according to the sheriff. Then they left and allegedly took the couple’s money and extra gasoline.
Tommy Butler went back to Cowford and picked up his wife and the children, Blakely said.
“They didn’t know what he had done,” Blakely said.
The mother-in-law untied her husband, and he took her to Athens-Limestone Hospital and called authorities at 7:14 a.m.
Family members said the hospital released her later Sunday. Her husband did not require medical attention, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies searched for Tommy Butler’s vehicle, and Deputy Tom Gilbert spotted it about 9 a.m. on U.S. 72.
Four patrol cars pulled him over on U.S. 31 near McConnell Funeral Home in Athens.
Blakely said Tommy Butler and Michael Butler did not resist arrest.
“They didn’t have much choice but to give up since they were surrounded.”
Authorities charged both with first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery. Although the 16-year-old is a juvenile, he was charged as an adult.
They were in jail with no bond set.
Blakely said Tommy Butler is on probation.
“Not sure what the probation is for, but we’ll find that out Monday,” Blakely said.
“I know we have arrested him for sex abuse before, and I don’t know what was going on in his mind this time.”
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