Convicted rapist arrested in attack on female UW students

Convicted rapist arrested in attack on female UW students
Robert D. Hitt
SEATTLE -- Police have arrested a convicted rapist who allegedly broke into a North Seattle home and tied up several female University of Washington students and forced one to disrobe at knifepoint.

Detective Renee Witt said the victims told investigators that the man was armed with a knife when he came in through a window at the home in the 5000 block of 20th Avenue NE at about 3:30 a.m.

A victim told KOMO News the man found six of the eight women who live in the home and gathered them into one room. She says he threatened to kill them and if they called police, there would be a standoff.

The man then had the six women, all aged 19-21, lie on the floor on their stomachs so he could bind their hands with tape. When he ran out of tape, he tore a lamp cord from the wall as sparks flew, and used the cord to tie up the rest of the women, the victim said. At one point, the man forced a woman to take off her clothes, police said.

During the incident, the man apparently left the knife on the floor and forgot about it, and one of the girls rolled on top of it to hide it from view, the victim said.

A woman who was hiding in another room managed to call 911 before the armed man found her, and police rushed the house.

Officers heard screaming when they arrived and arrested 35-year-old Robert D. Hitt at the scene.

Hitt was released from prison in January after serving 10 years for a rape he committed in 2001. He had been classified as a low risk to re-offend and was under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections.

"We don't see this type of a situation" involving strangers a lot in Seattle, Witt said. "We would not have known what was going on in that house unless this victim dialed 911."

The suspect was booked into jail for investigation of burglary, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, attempted rape and robbery. Witt said the man also had a small amount of methamphetamine on him when he was taken into custody.