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Originally published July 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 23, 2007 at 8:32 PM

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Adhahn charged in Linnik murder; prosecutors will not seek the death penalty

Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against Terapon Adhahn if he is convicted of the murder of 12-year-old Zina Linnik of Tacoma...

Seattle Times staff reporters

TACOMA — Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against Terapon Adhahn if he is convicted of the murder of 12-year-old Zina Linnik of Tacoma.

Gerald Horne, Pierce County prosecuting attorney, made the announcement during a news conference in Tacoma.

Horne said prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty while still investigating the abduction of Zina. In exchange, Adhahn led police to Zina's body in rural eastern Pierce County, he said.

Earlier today, Adhahn, 42, was charged with aggravated first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape. Aggravated first-degree murder is punishable by life in prison without parole or execution.

Charging papers say Zina, who was abducted from an alley near her Tacoma home on July 4, died of blunt-force trauma to the head. Adhahn's DNA was found on her body, according to the charging papers. During Adhahn's arraignment earlier this afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court, Adhahn's attorney, Richard Whitehead, said they would wait until prosecutors decide whether to seek the death penalty before entering a plea to the new charges. A judge entered a plea of not guilty to the charges on Adhahn's behalf.

Bail was set at $5 million, which is in addition to the more than $2 million in bail set last week after Adhahn was charged in connection with the rapes of two young girls and for failing to register as a sex offender.

At about 9:45 p.m. July 4, Zina's father, Mikhail Linnik, heard a scream, according to a police report, and when he went to the alley, he saw an Asian man get into a gray van parked nearby and drive off.

The investigation led officers to Adhahn, who drove a gray van with recently changed license plates registered to another car.

A co-worker of Adhahn's told police that on July 5 Adhahn's van was extremely clean and appeared to have been vacuumed out, charging papers said. Other co-workers told police that on that same day Adhahn told them that he "needed to get out of the country and go to Thailand," court charging papers said. The co-workers said the statement was not something Adhahn, a Thai immigrant, would normally say.

Adhahn was arrested July 9 on charges of failing to register as a sex offender and was held in federal detention on immigration charges. Three days later, Adhahn directed a detective to Zina's body outside of Eatonville, in eastern Pierce County, charging documents said.

An autopsy revealed that Zina had not been killed where her body was found, according to charging papers. Charging papers do not indicate where the girl was killed.

Adhahn was booked into the Pierce County Jail on July 18.

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Adhahn was charged last week with seven counts of rape for repeated assaults against a girl who lived with him for four years and three counts of rape and one count of kidnapping in connection with an attack on an 11-year-old girl in 2000.

He was also charged with one count of failing to register as a sex offender in connection with a 1990 conviction for first-degree incest.

According to Pierce County Superior Court documents, Adhahn allegedly abducted the 11-year-old girl while she was walking to school alone on May 31, 2000. Prosecutors say Adhahn threatened the girl with a knife, duct-taped her hands, mouth and eyes and then drove to a remote training area in woods on the Fort Lewis base, where he repeatedly raped her.

A DNA sample was taken from that victim. Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor Ed Murphy said a crime lab has matched the DNA sample to Adhahn.

Adhahn is also charged with repeatedly raping a girl who moved in with him in 2001 when she was 12 because her mother had unspecified "troubles" that made her unable to care for her. The girl, now 19 and living in Wichita, Kan., told Tacoma detectives that she was raped at least 150 to 200 times over the course of the four years she lived with the man she called "Dad."

The attacks stopped only when she fled his home at 16 after he raped her at gunpoint when she tried to refuse him, court documents allege.

Police are also investigating Adhahn in connection with several other attacks on young girls in and around Tacoma dating back more than a decade.

Police have told the parents of Adre'Anna Jackson that Adhahn is being investigated as the primary suspect in their daughter's death. Her remains were found in a vacant lot near Tacoma four months after she disappeared while walking to school in December 2005.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

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