Competency evaluation ordered for suspect in rapes, robbery, car theft

Curtis E. Harmon, the man accused of raping two women and stealing a car with children inside, will undergo a competency evaluation at Western State Hospital before standing trial.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch granted the motion for an evaluation Tuesday at the request of Charles Lane, the attorney assigned to represent Harmon.

At the same hearing, Harmon entered not guilty pleas to nine charges, including first-degree rape.

Hirsch chose not to set a trial date until the competency issue has been settled.

Harmon initially was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges April 7, but he refused to appear in court without his assigned attorney. Typically, defendants who haven’t hired private counsel are represented during arraignment by any one of the county’s Office of Assigned Counsel attorneys.

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

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.

Then in the early morning of March 18, another woman reported that she was 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, then she ran away.

Later that morning, Lacey police were dispatched to the parking lot of Paramount Christian Church on College Street 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, prosecutors allege.

In addition to four counts of first-degree rape, Harmon pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of first-degree robbery, one count of attempted first-degree robbery, one count of theft of a motor vehicle, one count of second-degree theft and one count of reckless endangerment.