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Originally published May 2, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified May 3, 2008 at 2:16 AM

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Adhahn sentenced to life in prison for Tacoma girl's slaying

The anguish and heartbreak left behind by child-killer Terapon Adhahn spilled out in a Tacoma courtroom this afternoon as a judge sentenced him to life in prison for the 2007 kidnapping and slaying of 12-year-old Zina Linnik and the sexual assault of two other girls.

Seattle Times staff reporter

TACOMA — For months, it's been a foregone conclusion that Terapon Adhahn would spend the rest of life in prison for the kidnapping and slaying last summer of 12-year-old Zina Linnik.

Nonetheless, the anguish and heartbreak caused by Zina's death as well as the rape of two other girls is spilled out in a Tacoma courtroom this afternoon as a judge heard testimony before sentencing Adhahn.

Members of Zina's family and one of the rape victims described how Adhahn took away something that can never be replaced.

"For him getting a chance to live, after everything he's done, it's sick," said Anatoly Kalchik, Zina's uncle. "He will be fed, he will be clothed and I don't think it's right."

Sabrina Rasmussen, 19, who was kidnapped and raped by Adhahn in 2000, had one question.

"I know he doesn't have to answer, [but] I would like to know why he didn't kill me," she said.

Because Pierce County prosecutors took the death penalty off the table last year in exchange for information about the location of Zina's body, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Rosanne Buckner had no alternative but to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Under state law, a conviction for aggravated first-degree murder must be punished by either death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Adhahn declined to speak at his sentencing hearing.

Adhahn, 43, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated first-degree murder and rape in the Zina, who was snatched from near her Tacoma home on July 4. He also pleaded guilty to 13 additional charges of rape and kidnapping in connection to repeated assaults against two other young girls and failing to register as a sex offender.

In his exchange for his guilty pleas, Adhahn had asked only that the court lift a restraining order preventing him from having contact with his son. But Buckner today declined that request.

Zina's slaying prompted state lawmakers to pass laws requiring the collection of DNA samples from a wider array of sex offenders, allowing authorities to publish the names of unregistered sex offenders and authorizing the broader use of GPS tracking devices by the Department of Corrections.

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When Zina was kidnapped from behind her Hilltop-area home, her father heard a scream, saw a van driving off and gave police a partial license plate number that led detectives to Adhahn.

Four days after his arrest on July 8 and once prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty, Adhahn led investigators to Zina's body, which had been dumped in rural Pierce County. She died of blunt force to the head, according to court documents.

Subsequent investigation led prosecutors to charge Adhahn with assaults on two other girls.

In one case, he was charged with seven counts of rape for repeated sexual assaults against a girl whose mother had allowed her in Adhahn's care for several years. The girl, who now lives in Wichita, Kan., moved in with Adhahn in 2001 when she was 12 because her mother had unspecified "troubles" that made her unable to care for her.

The girl told Tacoma detectives that she was raped at least 150 to 200 times during the four years she lived with the man she called "Dad." The attacks stopped, court documents said, only when she fled his home at 16 after he raped her at gunpoint.

Adhahn also was charged with the kidnapping and rape of an 11-year-old Gault Middle School student who was on her way to school May 31, 2000, when she was abducted by Adhahn.

He threatened her 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 before abandoning her in the woods.

Adhahn's conviction for failing to register as a sex offender arises from a 1990 incest conviction for raping his 16-year-old half-sister when he was intoxicated.

In court documents connected to the incest case, Adhahn said he had been brutally assaulted as a child by older male relatives when he was a child in Thailand.

Adhahn's attorneys have said that he denies involvement any other crimes, but police have said he has not been ruled out as a potential suspect in assaults on other young girls, including the disappearance and murder of 10-year-old Adre'anna Jackson. Adre'Anna disappeared in Lakewood on her way to school in December 2005.

Prosecutors said they are not precluded by the plea deal from filing additional charges or seeking the death penalty if Adhahn is later linked to other crimes.

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

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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