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Rapist's prior conviction could be presented
The judge presiding over the trial of convicted rapist and former Port Orchard resident Richard Lynn Sauer is expected to rule this afternoon on whether the prosecution can present three key pieces of evidence including his prior conviction to the jury.
Sauer, 27, is currently being held in Kitsap County Jail awaiting trial set to begin Sept. 29 on charges he raped a 20-year-old woman in the Long Lake area in July 2000.
He was convicted last year of first-degree rape and first-degree burglary and sentenced to almost 30 years in prison in a separate and more recent incident in which he assaulted a woman at knifepoint in June 2002.
On Monday morning, Kitsap Superior Court Judge Russell W. Hartman heard two motions from the states attorney to allow evidence and one from the defendants lawyer to suppress.
Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Stan Glisson wants to admit into evidence the defendants prior conviction and force the defense to provide results of an independent test ordered done on DNA evidence collected from one of the victims.
Glisson argued that although notifying the jury of the defendants prior conviction could be powerfully prejudicial, he said the question should be whether it is unfairly prejudicial.
There is nothing unfair about presenting information to a jury about something he did, Glisson said.
Glisson went on to argue that the defendants prior conviction identified a common scheme or plan, and, despite one glaring difference of brutality, the two rapes were tremendously similar.
The 2002 rape was far less physically abusive than the 2000 rape, he said, which we are theorizing to be because the defendant knew the victim in the 2002 case, which decreased the aggression.
However, Sauers attorney Larry Knappert argued there was not an identifiable signature to link the two cases together, and the evidence would be more harmful if presented than not.
This would muddy the water even more, Knappert said. It would be much more prejudicial than probitive to present.
Glissons second motion was to compel the defense to reveal the results of a second, independent DNA test performed on a sample taken from the victim in the 2000 case.
A sexual assault examination was done at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton immediately after that attack, but the DNA samples collected from the victim were not matched against Sauers DNA until Sept. 13, when a forensic scientist entered Sauers DNA into the computer and matched him to the 2000 attack.
Although Sauers trial was scheduled to begin in January, Knappert successfully petitioned to have the trial date moved to April to allow the DNA to be tested again. (The trial was postponed again to September by agreement of both parties due to the temporary absence of the key investigator.)
Glisson argued that the state should be allowed to see the results of the second test because it is material, relevant information.
Finally, the judge heard Knapperts motion to supress the victims identification of the defendant because it had been made in court during the defendants arraignment.
Glisson argued that the identification should be admissible because it was instantaneous and non-provoked. It happened as the defendant was being led into the courtroom flanked by 10 men of the same race and age, he said, and before any of their names was called.
Glisson said although he was to present more evidence including witness testimony regarding the validity of the courtroom identification on Tuesday, he expected Judge Hartman to rule on all three motions this afternoon.