Hauff Case to Remain in King County

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Overturning her decision from last week, King County Superior Court Judge Kimberley Prochnau ruled today to keep the trial of alleged kidnapper, rapist and torturer John Hauff Jr. in King County. Hauff and his attorneys had sought to move the case to Pierce County, where he lives, and where the bulk of the alleged crimes occurred.

As previously reported by Seattle Weekly's inimitable Curtis Cartier, Hauff allegedly picked up a prostitute on 82nd Avenue and Aurora Avenue N. on April 2 at 9:30 p.m., telling her that he wanted to tie her wrists and use a vibrator on her, and that while in the car, with her consent, he bound and blindfolded. He then drove her to his trailer in a remote corner of northeastern Tacoma, where, according to the woman's statement to police, he proceeded to sexually torture her in a scary, well-insulated chamber for several hours.

According to the woman's statement, the torture stopped only when she revealed that she'd sent his license plate number to her boyfriend, with instructions to call police if she didn't turn up soon. Hauff then drove her home, gave her an extra $100, and told her that there was no need to get the cops involved, according to charging documents.

Hauff, 66, shuffled into court this afternoon in red prison pants and shirt, orange socks and plastic slippers, with his hands cuffed behind his back. He said nothing and betrayed no emotion throughout the half-hour hearing, and was led out, in handcuffs, at its conclusion.

In changing her mind on the venue, Judge Prochnau was swayed by Assistant District Attorney Sean O'Donnell, who cited California and Washington state case law in arguing that because Hauff coaxed his alleged victim, a prostitute, into his car under false pretenses, the kidnap started before she realized it, and while they were still in King County.

"When he bound and blindfolded her, on a lie, all the advantage was his," said O'Donnell. "He was better prepared and she was defenseless."

Hauff's attorney Gary Davis disagreed, saying that "the elements of the crime don't occur until she arrived at Mr. Hauff's residence in Pierce County."

Noting that the case confronted her with a "somewhat unusual issue," Prochnau sided with the prosecution, and set the date for Hauff's arraignment as next Tuesday, June 1.

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