Rape, robbery and car theft suspect refuses to appear in Thurston County court

Rape, robbery and car theft suspect Curtis Harmon was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday morning before a Thurston County judge. But the hearing didn’t happen.

According to Office of Assigned Counsel attorney Patrick O’Conner, 24-year-old Harmon refused to appear in court. O’Connor asked Judge Gary Tabor to postpone the arraignment for a week, but the judge and Deputy Prosecutor Jim Powers expressed some reservations.

“I don’t think that the court can have any confidence that next week will be any better,” Powers said.

The two sides eventually came to an agreement: Harmon would appear for arraignment with his court-appointed attorney, Charles Lane — not the Assigned Counsel attorney — on a preliminary appearance calendar later in the week.

Typically, defendants who haven’t hired private counsel are all represented during their arraignment by any one of the county’s Office of Assigned Counsel attorneys. Had Harmon appeared Tuesday morning, he would have been represented by O’Connor.

This isn’t the first time Harmon has caused trouble in a Thurston County Superior Court hearing. At his March 23 preliminary appearance, Harmon scuffled with officers who tried to escort him away after bail was set.

Harmon was arrested March 20, and is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Thurston County Jail.

He is facing seven charges in total: first-degree robbery, attempted first-degree robbery, theft of a motor vehicle, second-degree theft, reckless endangerment, and two counts of first-degree rape. The charges come from a string of crimes committed in the Lacey area.

In the first incident, on March 14, a woman reported that she had been walking north on Rainier Road when she was grabbed from behind and dragged into a warehouse. She said the suspect had a knife, stole her debit card, and raped her, according to court documents.

In the early morning of March 18, another woman reported that she had been walking to work in Lacey when she was grabbed from behind. The suspect asked for money, but she said she didn’t have any. The suspect forced her to perform oral sex on him, then she ran away.

Later that morning, Lacey police were dispatched to the parking lot of Paramount Christian Church after a woman reported that her car had been stolen with two young children inside. The car was found a few blocks away, and the children were unharmed, according to court documents.

Harmon was arrested March 19 in Portland, Oregon, just a day after fleeing the area on an Amtrak train. He was identified as the suspect in the car theft case, and arrested on an outstanding state Department of Corrections warrant.

In interviews with detectives, Harmon confessed to all three incidents, according to court documents.