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South Kitsap rapist convicted on all counts in just 45 minutes

It took a jury of 10 men and two women just 45 minutes to convict Richard Lynn Sauer of all four of his alleged crimes.

It will take almost six weeks for the state to decide how Sauer should be punished.

On Tuesday afternoon, the 27-year-old Sauer was convicted of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault and taking a motor vehicle without permission. He was also convicted of two deadly weapons enhancements — enhancements that will add years of mandatory time to his already lengthy potential sentence.

Given the seriousness of the charges and the complexity of the evidence presented — DNA matching was a key part of the prosecution’s case — it surprised most involved that the jury was able to come to consensus so quickly.

“It went so fast,” said Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Stan Glisson. “I originally asked the court scheduler for three weeks of court time.”

The case against Sauer was hefty — the victim testified in great detail about the night in 2000 when Sauer talked her into giving him a ride, then directed her to a remote part of South Kitsap and brutally raped her multiple times. He concluded by stealing her car and leaving her stranded without a stitch of clothing.

Her car was later recovered in a part of South Kitsap Sauer, a Port Orchard resident, was known to frequent.

A DNA expert also talked to the jury about evidence gathered from the victim that was later found to be an exact genetic match for Sauer.

Because other evidence, such as Sauer’s recent conviction on a separate rape charge, was suppressed by the court, Glisson said he was glad the DNA witness was able to connect with the jury the way she was.

“DNA is tough,” he said. “It’s incredibly complicated and most of us don’t really understand it.”

“If (the jury) has trouble understanding it,” Glisson continued, “we’re really in a tough spot.”

Sauer’s defense attorney, Larry Knappert, built his case on discrepancies between the victim’s original description of her attacker and Sauer’s physical attributes. He expressed frustration the jury apparently disregarded key points of his case — especially those relating to height and circumcision — in favor of the DNA testimony.

“If the DNA was correct, it would have turned up a person who looked like the person describer by (the victim),” Knappert said. “The jury chose to ignore the description and go with the science.”

Before Sauer can be sentenced on Nov. 21, the Department of Corrections must complete a lengthy pre-sentence investigation — a standard requirement for sex offenses. The DOC will then make a sentencing recommendation, as will the prosecution and the defense.

Glisson said there’s little chance of Sauer getting anything under 30 years — the top of the standard sentencing range for Rape 1, the most serious of Sauer’s offenses.

Sauer, he pointed out, has an offender score that is off the charts; score counts only go up to nine and, at this point, Sauer has at least a dozen felony convictions on his record.

In fact, because of Sauer’s high score and the severity of the crime — not to mention the two special weapons enhancements — Glisson expects Sauer may even be sentenced above and beyond the standard range.

“A score off the charts is one of the statutory requirements for an exceptional status,” he said.

Knappert is expected to fight such a recommendation in court.

Even so, if Sauer receives the expected minimum 30-year sentence on top of his existing 29-year, 10-month sentence for the other rape conviction, he won’t be eligible for release until he’s 80 — even taking into account time off for good behavior.

“It’s essentially a life sentence,” Knappert said.

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