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Judge grants two-week delay
May 19, 1981
Seattle Times staff reporter
While expressing concern that "justice delayed is justice denied," a King County Superior Court judge yesterday granted a two-week postponement of the sentencing of Steve Titus, convicted of raping a young hitchhiker south of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport last October.
Titus' new attorney, Jeff Jones of Bellevue, had asked Judge Charles V. Johnson to stay Titus' sentencing for 60 days. Jones argued more time was needed to prepare briefs challenging the prosecutor's decision to file charges of first-degree rape.
Jones also cited an investigation by The Times into the Titus case and said more information could be forthcoming to provide the basis for a new trial.
Titus was arrested by Port of Seattle police after being identified from a series of Photographs by a 17-year-old girl as the man who raped her in a secluded area off South 208th Street on the evening of October 12. He contends he is innocent.
Titus' exhaustive efforts to clear his name, and inconsistencies in the case against him, were detailed in an article in The Times Friday. Although Titus failed a polygraph test before his trial, there was testimony that the defendant was in his Kent apartment, about 8 miles away, at the time of the rape.
The case against Titus also leaned heavily on close similarities between Titus' car and a compact vehicle described by the rape victim. But with state crime-lab technicians finding no evidence the rape victim had been in the defendant's car, the defense argued that the case against Titus was largely circumstantial.
Titus, 31, was regional manager for Ivar's Seafood Bars at the time of his arrest. Aside from a traffic citation in 1978, he never had been in trouble before the arrest.
Judge Johnson rescheduled sentencing for June 1.
"You have had more than the normal time to prepare for sentencing," Judge Johnson told Titus. "I think we should conclude this matter as soon as we can."
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