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from the Los Angeles Times


Bird attack key to conviction

Times Staff Writer

February 20, 2003

DALLAS -- Prosecutors say a pet cockatoo that was killed while trying to protect its owner from an attacker produced evidence crucial in convicting the man's murderer.

Kevin Butler's 18-inch white-crested cockatoo, named Bird, flew at defendant Daniel Torres during the Christmas Eve 2001 attack and pecked his head, drawing blood, prosecutors said. Torres wiped the blood and then touched a light switch, leaving his DNA at the scene, authorities said.

His DNA was also found on the handles of two knives used to attack Butler, prosecutor George West told jurors.

Torres was convicted Tuesday of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison for Butler's slaying in Pleasant Grove.

"This bird spoke; he spoke to us," West told jurors. "We know this bird will attack anybody who is attacking his owner. And who did he attack? Daniel Torres."

Torres had worked for Butler's pool company but he and Butler had a falling out, Torres said.

Copyright © 2003, The Los Angeles Times

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