Q: I went to Rutter Middle School in Sacramento in 1992-94. I remember one day our school counselor delivered the really bad news that a new student had been killed by her stepfather. I’ve always wondered who this young girl was, her name, anything known about her family and if her stepfather was convicted of the crimes allegedly committed against my classmate.
Trang, Elk Grove
A: You may be thinking of 13-year-old Tiffanie Tyson, who was found bludgeoned and strangled in her Oak Park home Jan. 30, 1993.
Her stepfather, Festus Butler, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. The plea came less than two months after a jury deadlocked 11-1 for conviction, with the lone dissenter supporting second-degree rather than first-degree murder.
Butler was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Now 65 years old, he is at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton.
The prosecutor said Butler killed Tyson after she resisted a sexual attack. The girl’s mother had taken her two younger children to a matinee showing of “Home Alone 2,” but Tyson had chosen to stay home to do chores and was planning to go to a party that night, according to a story in The Sacramento Bee.
Butler reportedly was in the home on 35th Street viewing a pornographic video at the time of Tyson’s death. He initially told police that someone entered the home and attacked the girl, but the prosecutor said police found no sign of an intruder.