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Washington v. Guy Rasmussen
No. 96-1-0448-16

State of Washington v. Guy Rasmussen
NO. 96-1-0448-16: The Cynthia Allinger case


1996
9-Year-old Cynthia Allinger was last seen on Thursday afternoon, July 4th, 1996 near her family's apartment. At
that time she was going to visit some friends that lived nearby. She did not arrive.

She was about 4 feet tall, very thin. She had shoulder length light brown / dirty-blond hair. At the time of her disappearance she was wearing a floral pattern dress (white background and pink flowers with green leaves). The floral pattern was large and the dress had a full circle white lace collar.

An extensive search began shortly, and police quickly focused their investigation on 30-year-old Guy Rasmussen, a man who used to live in the neighborhood and had been friendly with Cynthia. They put him under surveillance and tracked his movements carefully.

Reid, C. & Working, R. "SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT BELIEVES GIRL ABDUCTED; MAN QUESTIONED," Tacoma News Tribune, July 7, 1996

Dunham, S. & Working, R. "THE AREA BRIEFLY - LAKEWOOD: DOGS FAIL TO FIND SIGN OF MISSING GIRL, 9," Tacoma News Tribune, July 14, 1996

Then things started to get weird. A psychic wrote a letter to a Lakewood Detective on the case, detailing her role as a prophet for god, and suggesting the precise location where Cynthia's body could be found. Indeed the Detective went out alone on the night of July 17th, found the body, and, despite orders, moved it before anyone else could arrive to document the scene the next morning. 

Curiously, the psychic was the spiritual guide of Gilbert Bauschman, father of David Bauschman. David Bauschman was Rhonda Plank's live in boyfriend at the time. Rhonda Plank, of course, is Cynthia Allinger's mother.

It may also be of interest that none of the many searchers involved in this case recalled seeing the pile of carpet scraps where Cynthia's body was ultimately found in their many sweeps of that very area. 

So Detectives get this "tip" from a psychic friend of the family about where they can find the body, and then this pile of carpet shows up, underneath which she is found. Now, if you believe in psychics, then you probably would not think to investigate this version of events or potential connections back to family/ household members. If you do not believe in psychics, then you must consider that only the person(s) who killed Cynthia would know where to find her body.

Gonzalez, V. "INVESTIGATOR FINDS BODY NEAR MCCHORD / IDENTIFY OF PERSON UNCLEAR UNTIL PROBE IS RESUMED TODAY," Tacoma News Tribune, July 18, 1996

Working, R. "'HOMICIDAL VIOLENCE' CAUSED CINDY'S DEATH," Tacoma News Tribune, July 20, 1996

After Cynthia's body was found, Mr. Rasmussen was questioned about his possible involvement in her death. He failed a lie detector test and that ended law enforcement's investigation into other possible suspects. To my knowledge, having carefully examined the investigative record in this case, no effort was made to investigate or eliminate family or household members as suspects. 

An important thing to note here is that if Cynthia was killed somewhere else and then dumped later (a conclusion that the evidence strongly supports), then Mr. Rasmussen becomes a less viable suspect because he was under fairly constant surveillance by police - if he had dumped her body, the authorities would likely have seen him do it. 

Albert, A. "'ARREST MADE IN GIRL'S KILLING / 'PERSON OF INTEREST' JAILED ON DNA EVIDENCE," Tacoma News Tribune, November 16, 1996

Elaine Porterfield, Hector Castro & Anthony K. Albert "NOT GUILTY PLEA IN GIRL'S DEATH / FAMILY WATCHES SUSPECT DENY MURDER CHARGE," Tacoma News Tribune, November 19, 1996

1998
When the trial began, things got weirder. And things happened that I don't recall seeing on any other case where I've been retained as an expert. The prosecution began to harass witnesses and defense experts, including myself, calling supervisors and making threats and using fairly intimidating tactics to try and keep us out of the court-room (or in line with their thinking). This sounds far fetched until you've lived it, and know the people involved in the case. Fortunately the documentation is fairly clear and fairly public, so you don't have to take my word for it.

Gillie, J. "11-YEAR-OLD MURDER CASE WITNESS SPENT WEEKEND LOCKED UP / PROSECUTORS SAY THEY FEARED THAT HER FAMILY WAS LEAVING THE STATE," Tacoma News Tribune, June 3, 1998

Gillie, J. "MURDER SUSPECT'S LAWYER ASSAILS PROSECUTORS / ALLINGER CASE ATTORNEY ALLEGES UNETHICAL CONDUCT, WANTS CHARGES DROPPED," Tacoma News Tribune, July 24, 1998

Gillie, J. "TRIAL BEGINS IN GIRL'S DEATH / MAN CHARGED WITH STRANGLING CYNTHIA ALLINGER," Tacoma News Tribune, October 22, 1998

Gillie, J. "TIME OF CAR WASH IS KEY IN MURDER TRIAL / DEFENDANT'S ALIBI HINGES, IN PART, ON WHEN CINDY ALLINGER'S MOTHER CLEANED HER VEHICLE," Tacoma News Tribune, November 23, 1998

As an example of the prosecutorial misconduct in this case, prosecutors Lisa Wagner and Barbara Corey-Boulet jailed 11-year old Cierra Hull, their own witness, when she failed to show up for a pre-trial interview. They got a material witness warrant, and served it while she was at elementary school, receiving an award for student of the month. They were supposed to deliver the child directly to the judge who issued the warrant, but ended up placing the little girl in lock-up over the weekend.

Prosecutors may seek a material witness arrest warrant if a potential witness's testimony is "material" to a criminal proceeding and the individual is likely to flee. A judge must approve the warrant, and the witness is entitled to a bond hearing and a court-appointed attorney. In this case, authorities knew by the time they arrested Cierra Hull that she was no longer planning on moving any time soon, and it is clear that she was never a flight risk - her family was simply planning on moving out of state. But the fact that she was arrested and delivered to lock-up when she could not be delivered to the judge speaks for itself.

To incarcerate a child witness like this, treating them like a criminal and delivering them to court in chains, is the sign of a prosecutor out of control. In my view, there is no other way to describe it. Others agree. Recently, the family of Cierra Hull filed a lawsuit against Pierce County,  specifically citing the misconduct of Prosecutors Barbara Corey-Boulet and Lisa Wagner during the Rasmussen trial, claiming that the child's civil rights had been violated.

"Family Of 11-year-old Sues Over Girl's Arrest," Associated Press, April 22, 2003

Hucks, K. "Officials defend jailing of 11-year-old," Tacoma News Tribune, April 22, 2003

Hucks, K. "Witness's brief jailing legal, judge rules," Tacoma News Tribune, April 25, 2003

As provided, the case was dismissed by a substitute judge and will likely be appealed.

So, as documented above, the prosecutors harassed witnesses, defense experts, and filed numerous bogus charges against the defense attorneys in the Guy Rasmussen case. All of this misconduct was documented by the defense, made part of the record, and subsequently ignored. One wonders for how long. Consider the following case:


Washington v. Gary Benn
Sadly, the conduct evidenced by the prosecution in the Rasmussen case is consistent with the character of  the Pierce County District Attorney's Office when you consider their misconduct in Washington v. Gary Benn, a recently overturned murder case in Pierce County where the prosecution withheld information about their key witness's ongoing criminal activity (a jailhouse informant), and withheld exculpatory expert findings (Benn v. Lambert, 2002):

The Court of Appeals, Reinhardt, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) prosecution's withholding multiple pieces of critical impeachment evidence that would have seriously undermined credibility of key prosecution witness violated Brady; (2) prosecution's withholding experts' findings that fire had accidental origin, which would have undermined prosecution's proffered motive for killings, aggravating circumstance, and premeditation, violated  Brady; and (3) state court's determinations to contrary were unreasonable application of established Supreme Court law.  

The court went on to use some of the most damning language that I have ever read to describe the Pierce County prosecutor's misconduct in the Benn case:

The law and the truth-seeking mission of our criminal justice system, which promise and demand a fair trial whatever the charge, are utterly undermined by such prosecutorial duplicity. Although our Constitution guarantees to a person whose liberty has been placed in jeopardy by the State the right to confront witnesses in order to test their credibility, that right was willfully impaired in this case. By unlawfully withholding patently damaging and damning impeachment evidence, the prosecutor knowingly and willfully prevented Benn from confronting a key witness against him. Such reprehensible conduct shames our judicial system.

But don't take my word for it; read the whole decision here: Benn v. Lambert (2002). And just to be clear, Barbara Corey-Boulet was one of the prosecutors in the DA's office involved in the Benn case in post conviction. But again, don't take my word for it. See the CAPITAL PUNISHMENT CASE STATUS REPORT dated November 12, 2001, put out by the Attorney General for the state of Washington. 

Barbara Corey-Boulet criticized the ruling by the Court of Appeals in the Benn case, seemingly unapologetic for the criminal misconduct of those in her office. She further stated that a conviction against Gary Benn could easily be won if the case were retried:

"Circuit Court orders new trial for man convicted in twin killing," The Associated Press, February 27, 2002

Johnson, T. "New trial ordered in slayings where prosecutors hid evidence," The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 27, 2002

Editorial "Too many flaws in first Benn trial," The Tacoma News Tribune, March 19, 2002

However, despite the bravado of Pierce County prosecutors Gerry Horne and Barbara Corey-Boulet last year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case and Mr. Horne has decided not to seek the death penalty. This means that all previous claims regarding the ease with which Benn could be prosecuted again with the same results amount to little more than political posturing.

"Death penalty off table in 1988 case," The Associated Press, March 24, 2003


1999
Much was made of the DNA evidence (biological material from Cynthia found wiped across the front of one of Guy Rasmussen's jeans) in this case, linking Cynthia to Mr. Rasmussen. To be frank, this transfer has no small amount of chain of custody issues. To be even more frank, the possibility that this evidence was planted has not been eliminated. In fact, that argument was made effectively by defense attorney's at trial.

Regardless, Mr. Rasmussen was convicted and the sentencing phase of the trial began.

Gillie, J. "ERROR PIVOTAL IN RASMUSSEN TRIAL / DETECTIVE'S FAILURE TO RECORD HE MOVED VICTIM'S BODY USED BY PROSECUTION TO ATTACK DEFENSE," Tacoma News Tribune, January 8, 1999

Gillie, J. "ACCUSED'S ALIBI 'AIRTIGHT,' DEFENSE SAYS / JURORS IN RASMUSSEN MURDER TRIAL BEGIN DELIBERATIONS," Tacoma News Tribune, January 21, 1999

While all of this is going on, the relationship between David Bauschman and Rhonda Plank began to fall apart.  Mr. Bauschman landed in Pierce County Jail on a first-degree assault charge that he beat Plank on Jan. 21, 1999. Subsequently, Mr. Bauschman's lawyer sent a letter to the prosecutors in the Rasmussen case with the revelation that Rhonda Plank killed her own daughter. Mr. Bauschman initially told investigators with the prosecutor's office that Plank told him she struck Allinger in the face with a 14-inch-long plywood paddle which the mother used to discipline her three daughters. Mr. Bauschman further claimed Plank said she stuffed cloth in the girl's mouth to keep her from crying out. This version of events is consistent with the known facts of the case. It would also explain the psychic's letter.

The prosecutors argued that Rhonda Plank had taken lie detector tests about the girl's killing, but that the test results were invalid. This because Rhonda Plank had failed two lie detector tests on the issue of whether or not she was involved with her daughter's death. I suppose if Rhonda Plank had passed, then the results would be valid?

The judge in this case agreed with the prosecution, saying the allegations weren't relevant in the penalty phase of the trial.

Gillie, J. "LATE ALLEGATION ARISES IN RASMUSSEN CASE / LAWYERS FOR MAN FOUND GUILTY OF KILLING GIRL RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT HER MOTHER'S ROLE," Tacoma News Tribune, February 17, 1999

Gillie, J. "RASMUSSEN DODGES EXECUTION, WILL GET LIFE / 2 JURORS VETO DEATH PENALTY FOR CONVICTED SLAYER OF 9-YEAR-OLD CYNTHIA ALLINGER," Tacoma News Tribune, February 20, 1999


Barbara Corey-Boulet
After Mr. Rasmussen received his sentence, a story broke which all of us involved in the case knew about at the time. Concerns were raised about Barbara Corey-Boulet, the lead prosecutor, because during the Rasmussen trial it was not known whether she would be indicted along with her ex-husband, Francis, for charges stemming from theft and fraud at his former place of work. She was also apparently named in the related civil suit. He ultimately took all of the blame and she was not indicted and prosecuted criminally, as one might have expected.

Gillie, J. "Prosecutor's ex-husband faces theft charges," Tacoma News Tribune, June 22, 1999

Gillie, J. "Ex-husband of prosecutor charged in $600,000 theft," Tacoma News Tribune, June 22, 1999

Gillie, J. "Deputy prosecutor's ex-husband pleads guilty to theft," Tacoma News Tribune, July 23, 1999

Gillie, J. "Prosecutor's ex-husband sentenced," Tacoma News Tribune, August 28, 1999

According to the above reports, Barbara Corey-Boulet divorced Francis Corey-Boulet in April of 1999, a year after he came under investigation for stealing from the clinic. He pleaded guilty to one first-degree theft and nine second-degree theft charges (all felonies) in a plea bargain with prosecutors, who dropped 75 other charges. He was sentenced to three years and seven months in jail. Barbara Corey-Boulet apparently tried to put legal distance between herself and her former spouse, declaring bankruptcy and avoiding any public show of support for him.


Epilogue
There was more bizarre conduct from David Bauschman after the Rasmussen trial, as well as a recantation of his previous accusations against Rhonda Plank. 

Gillie, J. "Man pleads guilty to attacking woman," Tacoma News Tribune, July 27, 1999

The lesson here being that the truth is found in the physical evidence, and not in the hyperbole of counsel or the tenuousness of witness identification.

 

While Barbara Corey-Boulet's legal troubles with her convicted ex-husband have apparently faded, it appears that her legal troubles in regards to denying the civil rights of Cierra Hull are just beginning. Given the current state of things in Pierce County --- the revelations echoed across the country stemming from the Crystal Brame case (in which the Tacoma Chief of Police David Brame shot his wife and then himself in front of their children); the overturning of the Gary Benn case because of prosecutorial duplicity --- one can only imagine what will be uncovered next.

The lesson here is that you can only hide things for so long before they come to to a head. Even years later.

 

The Rasmussen case is currently under appeal, and the reason I make my report in this case available is that an un-sworn and somewhat inaccurate/ altered pretrial interview with me has circulated regarding my involvement in this case, being ridiculously passed off as a sworn deposition or sworn testimony of some sort. 

Hopefully, this material has served as both a learning tool, and as a means to assist with creating a reliable, professional record of the facts and circumstances in relation to this case. 


Expert Reports:

Brent E. Turvey, MS

It should be noted that when I asked for victimology in the form of any Child Protective Service reports or criminal background on the parents (and related material), the prosecution pretty much went ballistic. In doing so they had to admit that such documents apparently existed, but claimed that I was not entitled to them. That's why I made reference to not having this kind of documentation in my reports.


Note: The purpose of this page is informational, and no attempts to malign or "slime" the character of any one person or agency have been made. Having said that, I acknowledge that the facts related above do speak loudly for themselves, and should be upsetting to everyone. Harry Truman said it best: "I don't give them hell; I just tell them the truth and they think it's hell."