robert_hitt.jpg
Robert D. Hitt was convicted of raping a University of Washington student in 2001. (Photo: Department of Corrections)

Convicted rapist breaks into U District home, ties up women

A convicted rapist who was released from prison in January has been arrested for breaking into a home in the University District, tying up the women inside and forcing one to remove her clothes, according to the Seattle Police Department.

Robert D. Hitt, 35, was booked into the King County Jail Monday for investigation into robbery, burglary, kidnapping and attempted rape.

According to Seattle police, he entered the home in the 5000 block of 20 Ave. NE through a first floor window at around 3:30 a.m. The eight women who live in the home are university students, and the residence is just blocks from the University of Washington campus.

"He broke into their house and gathered all of the female occupants into a room while threatening to use a knife that he had," said Detective Renee Witt. "The suspect bound all the female victims' hands."

Witt said one of the women called 911 from her bedroom before the man was able to find her.

"She heard him coming, she heard him yelling and he was trying to kick her door in," Witt said.

Police arrived at the scene minutes later, and took the man into custody. None of the women were injured, but the crime bears a resemblance to the one that sent Hitt to prison a decade ago.

According to the Washington State Department of Corrections, Hitt was released from prison on January 10, 2012 after serving a 10 year sentence for first-degree rape. According to court documents from the King County Prosecutor's Office, Hitt raped a 19-year-old University of Washington student at knifepoint in October 2001. Hitt was 24-yeras-old at the time of the offense.

The woman worked at a University District sandwich shop and had come to Hitt's home to deliver an order.

"Hitt had been drinking all day and had been watching a pornographic movie, which was playing on television when (the victim) arrived," according to probable cause documents. When the victim stepped inside the doorway, Hitt blocked her from leaving and put a knife to her throat.

"Be quiet, don't say a word or I'll cut your throat," Hitt told her, then proceeded to rape her.

While Hitt's crime could have carried a sentence of life in prison, the state's Indeterminate Sentence Review Board determined he was fit for release after just 10 years.

" ... the Board does not find by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Hitt is more likely than not to commit a sex offense if released on conditions," read the August 3, 2011 decision, obtained by KIRO-FM. The board noted that Hitt had made progress in therapy sessions and completed a chemical dependency program to "mitigate his risk to reoffend."

The board stated that it was clear Hitt had an "epiphany" while in prison and worked hard "to transform himself, his attitude and thoughts so that he won't create another victim in the future."

According to Department of Corrections Spokesperson Chad Lewis, Hitt was considered to be at a "low-risk" of reoffending on his release date, and had so far complied with the terms of his release.


Brandi Kruse, KIRO Radio Reporter
Brandi Kruse is a reporter for KIRO Radio who is as spontaneous and adventurous in her free time as she is on the job. Brandi arrived at KIRO Radio in March 2011 and has already collected three regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her reporting.
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