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March 21, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Not guilty pleas in U District home invasion

A convicted rapist accused of breaking into a house in the University District and threatening six young women with a knife pleaded not guilty this morning to kidnapping, robbery and burglary charges.

Three of the charges against Robert D. Hitt, 34, carry sexual motivation allegations because police allege one victim was forced to remove her clothes. If  Hitt is convicted, he faces a life sentence under Washington’s “two strikes” law for repeat sex offenders.

According to a probable-cause statement, police say Hitt broke into the Seattle house about 3:30 a.m. March 5 through a window. He ordered the six roommates into a bedroom at knifepoint. He ordered one victim to undress, binding her hands and then taking “her clothes completely off,” the statement said.

A woman who hid from Hitt called police and directed officers to to him. They found a knife in his pocket, along with cellphones belonging to two of the women. He told police he planned to rob the women for beer money, the statement said.

Hitt had been released from prison Jan. 10 after the state Indeterminate Sentence Review Board found he had served enough time for a 2001 rape in the University District. He had been sentenced to a minimum of about 10 years for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman who delivered a sandwich to his apartment.

He reportedly had an “epiphany” as a result of his sex-offender treatment and “worked hard to transform himself, his attitude and thoughts so that he won’t create another victim in the future,” according to the Aug. 17 decision by the board.

After his release, Hitt was classified as a Level 2 sex offender and remained under the supervision of the Department of Corrections.

Since September 2001, certain sex offenders like Hitt have been sentenced to both minimum and maximum prison terms, typically life, making their sentences “indeterminate.”

Before their minimum sentences expire, sex offenders are evaluated by the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board, whose members are appointed by the governor.

An offender must be released unless the board determines the offender is more likely than not to commit another sex offense. If an offender is not released, the board re-evaluates that offender at least every five years.

Hitt is being held without bail.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Burglary, kidnapping, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office

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