- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2003

DALLAS A white cockatoo, fighting unsuccessfully to save his owner from a fatal attack, was credited with sending a Texas defendant to prison for life this week.
Prosecutors said blood that "Bird," an 18-inch white-crested cockatoo, drew from one of the attackers provided a DNA link to the victim's neighbor, Daniel Torres. In less than 25 minutes Tuesday, a jury found Torres guilty of killing Kevin Butler and gave him a life sentence.
"This bird spoke, he spoke to us," lead prosecutor George West told the jury. He said Torres had wiped blood from his head and left it on a light switch, from which the DNA match was gleaned.
Mr. Butler had a houseful of stray pets, including Bird, when he was attacked in his apartment by two knife-wielding men on Christmas Eve 2001.
Bird went wild as he saw his owner beaten and slashed with knives, pecking one of the attackers mercilessly before the cockatoo was stabbed and killed, prosecutors said.
Torres' half-brother will be charged in a separate trial this spring.
"All of his animals were strays. He treated his pets with love, and in doing so, his pets loved him back, and that was certainly the case here," said Mr. Butler's sister, Kathy.


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