NOT GUILTY PLEA IN GIRL'S DEATH / FAMILY WATCHES SUSPECT DENY MURDER CHARGE
Category: Front Page
Keywords: Crime, Murder, Plea, Rape, Child/Children, Local/State
Image: COLOR PHOTO / Duncan Livingston / The News Tribune: Rhonda Plank, left, mother of 9-year-old Cindy Allinger, cries with her friend and former neighbor Rosie Castro after Guy Rasmussen leaves the courtroom Monday without meeting their eyes. Rasmussen will stand trial charged with the kidnap, rape and killing of Allinger in early July.
COLOR PHOTO / The News Tribune: Police kept Guy Rasmussen under surveillance during the four months since Cindy Allinger's slaying.
COLOR PHOTO: Cindy Allinger, 9, disappeared July 4. Her body was
found July 17. (A10)
SIDEBAR: Suspect never lived in apartment complex (A10)
Byline: Elaine Porterfield, Hector Castro and Anthony K. Albert; The News Tribune
After more than four months of mystery and grief, the family of 9-year-old Cindy Allinger sat in a courtroom Monday as a Lakewood man pleaded innocent to raping and suffocating the girl.
Guy Rasmussen, charged with aggravated murder, could face the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to seek it. The only other possible sentence is life in prison without parole.
Rasmussen, 30, also was charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape of a child.
Prosecutors say the girl suffocated after her clothing was stuffed in her mouth. She'd also suffered a broken jaw and appeared to have been burned three times on her thigh by a cigarette. She had been sexually assaulted.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Waldo Stone ordered Rasmussen held without bail. Rasmussen, shackled hand and foot, appeared shaky. His public defender kept his arm around Rasmussen during the brief time he was in court.
He appeared to be crying.
Members of the girl's family, their faces grim,
stood for the entire proceeding. As Rasmussen was led from the
courtroom, Cindy's mother, Rhonda Plank, clung to a friend and
dissolved in tears.
Cindy's body was found July 17 nude from the waist down and rolled in a carpet in a wooded vacant lot. She disappeared July 4 from her family's apartment near McChord Air Force Base.
One of Cindy's aunts, Laurie Fiedler, flew from Phoenix to see Rasmussen enter his plea.
"I wouldn't miss this if I lived all the way in Paris," Fiedler said.
The family, sitting in the front row, taped photos of Cindy on the window separating the waiting area from the courtroom, hoping that Rasmussen would see the girl's face.
But Rasmussen kept his back to the audience, and his lawyer hid Rasmussen's face from view with a file folder when they left the courtroom.
"He wasn't man enough to show his face," said Dorothy Wheeler, a former neighbor of Cindy's who organized nightly candlelight vigils when the girl was missing.
"It's been kind of hard," said Gilbert Bauschman, father of Rhonda Plank's boyfriend, David Bauschman. "I was pretty close to (Cindy) myself. I guess all we can do is let justice take its course."
Some of Rasmussen's friends also showed up in the courtroom, and one woman was distraught after he was led away.
One acquaintance at the arraignment, Dustin Hutson, met Rasmussen four years ago. He said he saw Rasmussen the day Cindy disappeared - possibly right after the girl was killed.
"He was just normal," Hutson said. "He didn't act like anything was wrong."
Prosecutors gave this account of the slaying:
Cindy went to a friend's house to play on the Fourth of July. She subsequently was seen by a friend to be in the company of a man matching Rasmussen's description. The sighting was near the lot where her body was found.
Another witness saw a girl dressed like Cindy and a man who again matched Rasmussen's description walking in the lot itself. The man looked as if he were trying to conceal the girl from view, the witness said.
Rasmussen gave authorities and friends several stories about how well he knew Cindy. On one occasion, he said he'd only met her once, while other times he said he'd met her three or four times.
He later admitted to police he'd given her a stuffed animal for her birthday and that she would sometimes come to his residence to play with his dog and his musical instruments.
On July 8, a friend reported Rasmussen tore up
several drawings the girl had made for him.
A polygraph test given about the second week of July indicated Rasmussen was lying or deceptive when asked if she was dead and if he'd killed her.
A pair of cut-off jeans seized from his house bore traces of semen. They also bore cells that have genetic characteristics shared by only one in 4,000 white females. Cindy Allinger is one of them.
Other genetic tests are pending.
As a teenager, Rasmussen was convicted in 1982 in Pierce County of sexual assault against a 16-year-old girl and served five years in prison. In 1990, he served five months after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a 10-year-old Olympia girl.
After he became a person of interest in the Allinger case, Rasmussen told The News Tribune the attention focused on him was unfair.
"I was watching the news the other night and I started to cry," he said in July. "I was thinking, 'How can they do this to me? They're hanging me.'"
But he said he sympathized with those looking for Cindy.
"If my kid was missing, I don't know what I'd do," said Rasmussen, whose son was then 6 years old.
Suspect never lived in apartment complex
Guy M. Rasmussen, the 30-year-old man accused in the abduction, rape and murder of 9-year-old Cindy Allinger, has had a transient lifestyle.
Investigators focused on him early in the investigation in part because he had lived in a house near the Garden Court Apartments where Cindy lived. Rasmussen never lived in that apartment complex.
At the time of Cindy's disappearance, Rasmussen was staying on and off with friends, sometimes in Tacoma and sometimes in a mobile home park in Lakewood. At the time of his arrest, Rasmussen was living with a relative in Tacoma.
A CHANCE FOR JUSTICE IN ALLINGER MURDER.
Keywords: TNT, Editorial
For months, Guy Rasmussen has lived in the shadow of suspicion as the unnamed ``person of interest'' in the murder of 9-year-old Cindy Allinger.
On Friday, he lost that cloak of official anonymity when he was arrested by sheriff's deputies. In a Pierce County courtroom Monday, the state accused the 30-year-old rock musician and convicted sex felon of one of the most hideous crimes the county has known.
Rasmussen, who swore to News Tribune reporters last summer ``it ain't me,'' entered a not-guilty plea. He will have his day in court. Prosecutors will have to prove his guilt to the satisfaction of a jury. They may demand the defendant pay with his life if found guilty. If Rasmussen is ultimately convicted, that penalty will not seem too harsh.
According to prosecutors, this little girl was taken to a wooded vacant lot not far from her McChord Gate-area apartment. There, on the Fourth of July, she was burned with a cigarette at least three times and raped. Her own clothing stuffed into her mouth caused death by suffocation. Her jaw was broken.
Prosecutors say they have eyewitness accounts linking Rasmussen and the victim the day of the killing. But the evidence that finally moved authorities to act was the result of DNA testing on bodily fluids. Pierce County citizens are likely to get a fresh lesson in the reliability of DNA testing as a tool of criminal investigation.
If detectives and prosecutors have the right man, a case that gives nightmares to careful parents everywhere will work its way toward resolution. Nothing will bring back this little girl's life or assuage the grief of her mother and family. But now there's a chance for some semblance of justice.
SUSPECT IN CINDY ALLINGER MURDER AGREES TO DELAY TRIAL UNTIL OCT. 6
Keywords: Crime, Murder, Child/Children, Kidnap, Rape, Delay
Byline: Hector Castro; The News Tribune
A man accused of killing a Lakewood girl waived his right to a speedy trial Tuesday and agreed when a judge ordered his trial to begin Oct. 6.
Guy M. Rasmussen, 30, is charged with kidnapping, raping and murdering 9-year-old Cindy Allinger in July.
If Rasmussen is convicted of the aggravated murder charge against him, he would face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
At Tuesday's hearing, Superior Court Judge Karen Strombom also allowed prosecutors to wait until April 16 before deciding whether to seek the death penalty in the case.
The extension will allow lawyers to compile a package of information to persuade prosecutors not to seek the death penalty, said defense attorney Doug Tufts.
Cindy's mother reported the girl missing July 4. Her body was found two weeks later, in a wooded lot near her family's apartment in Lakewood.
Rasmussen lived near Cindy's family and has admitted knowing her, but he has consistently maintained his innocence.
Prosecutors have said they have DNA evidence linking Rasmussen to the crime, and eyewitness accounts that place him in Cindy's company on the day of the murder.
Tuesday's hearing was brief, but it drew a handful of Cindy's relatives as well as relatives and friends of Rasmussen.
As Rasmussen was led away, wearing handcuffs and an orange jail jump suit, friends shouted words of encouragement to him. One woman shouted out, "Te amo, Guy." That's Spanish for "I love you."
Another friend leaned toward him and said, "Hang in there, bro."