Sentenced to ‘life,’ kidnapper/rapist in West Seattle/Kitsap County case is now out of prison

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Thanks to a WSB’er for the tip on this: Convicted kidnapper/rapist Donald Randolph Hooper is out of prison, after a ruling by the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board.

Longtime West Seattleites might recognize the name. In December 1982, at which time he happened to be working for Washington State Ferries on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, Hooper kidnapped a 14-year-old girl at gunpoint from a bus stop in West Seattle. She survived an ordeal that also included molestation and rape, at multiple locations in King and Kitsap Counties, before Hooper dumped her in the water of Hood Canal after binding her hands and partially binding her feet. She managed to struggle to shore after he left, and found someone who called police.

Hooper also was eventually convicted of a separate incident that had happened weeks earlier, involving raping a hitchhiker at gunpoint, though that conviction was reversed on appeal because of a technicality; ISRB documents say he admitted he committed the crime.

His sentence for the West Seattle kidnapping and Kitsap County rape was life in prison. But because Hooper’s conviction and sentencing predated our state’s mid-’80s fixed-sentence laws, Hooper was eligible for the equivalent of parole, which is granted by the aforementioned ISRB.

So last month, as noted in a TV report last week which led a reader to tell us about the case and point out the West Seattle connection, he was released from prison.

Hooper, now 56, was originally expected to live in Whatcom County after being released, but the sheriff there – as detailed on the department’s website in this February writeup – opposed him being released at all.

The board, however, went ahead with the release, and Hooper was then supposed to go live in Snohomish County, until the board learned that one of his victims lives there. ISRB spokesperson Robin Riley, who answered our questions about the case via e-mail, said the board tries to contact victims before scheduled hearings, so that: “If they choose, victims and survivors can meet with the board members at their regularly scheduled monthly board meeting and let the Board know how the crime has affected their lives and if they have any requests for no contact or geographic boundaries.”

In this case, Riley continued, “our victim liaison was able to contact one of the victims prior to Mr. Hooper’s release. Unfortunately, a second victim did not return contact until the day of Mr. Hooper’s release. Mr. Hooper was released to the same county as this person, but not the same city, and he was then later moved.”

That was not the victim who was kidnapped in West Seattle, according to the Department of Corrections, which told WSB that she no longer lives in this state. Hooper, meantime, was moved to a work-release facility downtown – 700 block of 8th Avenue, according to his page on the online sex-offender lookup, from which we obtained the photo you see above – while DOC looks for someplace he can live more permanently.

While Hooper was just recently released, the hearing in his case happened almost a year ago – August 15, 2012 – and the decision was made a month later, according to a document we obtained from the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board. That document also indicates Hooper originally was found “conditionally parolable” 10 years ago, and again at a hearing four years ago, at which time the board decided to allot three years for a “re-entry plan.” Inbetween those two times, he had a 2005 hearing, with the board “deciding he posed too great a risk for release” but a doctor saying he did not meet the bar for “civil commitment” – the term for keeping some high-risk offenders in prison indefinitely.

So what happens next? DOC spokesperson Chad Lewis tells us Hooper is under GPS observation for the first month. He will be under DOC supervision for three years. And because he underwent treatment in prison, among other factors including his evaluation results, he is currently considered low risk.

Meantime, Lewis says, there are still about 270 criminals who were sentenced to life before the sentencing laws changed – which means they are eligible for review at some point. “Now, if you get life without parole, it’s life without parole,” he observes.

58 Replies to "Sentenced to 'life,' kidnapper/rapist in West Seattle/Kitsap County case is now out of prison"

  • lml August 5, 2013 (4:24 pm)

    Thank you for reporting this! And also for showing a current photo of this person. I hope he now does good in the world.

  • flimflam August 5, 2013 (4:37 pm)

    ugh. what a vile human being. nice to know he’s out on the streets again. good job.

  • BWD August 5, 2013 (4:40 pm)

    It is ridiculous that he was released.

  • anonyme August 5, 2013 (5:19 pm)

    Calling Dexter…

  • Rachel August 5, 2013 (5:22 pm)

    Disgusting

  • Greta August 5, 2013 (5:28 pm)

    Thanks, I will be on the lookout for this creeper.

  • NW mama August 5, 2013 (5:38 pm)

    WTF

  • rob August 5, 2013 (5:44 pm)

    Wow, that guy doesn’t look 56 to me

  • Eric August 5, 2013 (6:16 pm)

    Why in the BLEEP is this person out of prison?!!!

  • Alkiwalker August 5, 2013 (6:22 pm)

    Meanwhile the political leadership of the 34th focuses on fundraising, garden parties, and removing plastic bags from the city. Thank you West Seattle!

  • DJ Allyn August 5, 2013 (6:22 pm)

    Hooper has done quite a bit more time than he would have if he would have committed his crime after July 1, 1984.

    When the Sentence Reform Act of 1981 (which went into effect for crimes committed after July 1 1984) it was hailed as an improvement over the indeterminate sentencing system aka the parole system. The SRA worked on a “Just desserts doctrine” where if you committed a crime, you knew exactly how much time you were going to serve. The judge had little leeway and sentences were set by prior criminal history and severity of the crime.

    Prior to the SRA, a “life sentence” was considered to be at least 20 years before a person could become “eligible” for consideration for release. But there was also something considered “good time” that awarded a one-third sentence reduction if an inmate didn’t get in trouble. That means the 20 year “life” sentence was really 13 years and 4 months before the parole board would even consider a release on parole. Parole was in no way automatic — most of the time the board would deny parole for the first few hearings because an inmate with a “clean” prison conduct was considered to be gaming the system. Better for an inmate to come in, be a management problem right off the bat and THEN settle down — that showed progress.

    For sex crimes, the parole board was very reluctant to release an inmate until they absolutely had no other reason to hold them. In Hooper’s case, he would have done his thirty years regardless. Once they do grant parole, his parole officer will be so far up his ass that unless he is comotose, he will be revoked within six months on a technical violation, and he will be back in for another five years or so.

    Under the SRA? Hooper would have been out in six years, and if he had committed his crime between 1984 and 1989 he wouldn’t have had any supervision upon release.

    I’ve always felt that in class A felonies, the sentences should always fall under the jurisdiction of the parole board.

  • Cynthia R August 5, 2013 (6:31 pm)

    Rehabilitated or not, he doesn’t deserve a second chance. How someone like this can get out of prison when any vigilante that went after him will get sent to jail is beyond me.

  • Rumbles August 5, 2013 (6:32 pm)

    Man, what a piece of work! How disappointing to hear he is out.

  • Pauline Aldrich August 5, 2013 (6:34 pm)

    maybe they should read again what he did to this poor 14 yr old girl, he totally meant to kill her by binding her and dumping her in hood canal but she managed to make it ashore, he will likely strike again so sad

  • Steve R. August 5, 2013 (6:44 pm)

    What the hell is wrong with judges in Washington? How can you let someone like this go free? How many more crimes will he commit, how many more lives will he ruin? Why even send anyone to prison at all, if they’re going to be released anyway?

  • Sister August 5, 2013 (6:44 pm)

    I wish I knew more about the timing of “our state’s mid-’80s fixed-sentence laws.” The man who raped and murdered my sister in 1986 was sentenced to life in prison without parole later that same year. I’d like to know if that sentence will stay.

    • WSB August 5, 2013 (7:22 pm)

      Sister – I am so sorry. I also apologize for not being more specific – I couldn’t find a link that explained the law change clearly but according to one site, “The Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) has applied to crimes committed since July 1, 1984.” There have been amendments along the way, but that seems to have been the dividing line for “life without parole” meaning “life without parole.” However, what the research on this story also said to me is – if there was someone in prison who I wanted to be sure was staying in prison, I would check on his/her status periodically – I have worked in news media here for 22 years and yet I don’t recall ever hearing about this board, much less where to find the cases it’s considering – yet as I note, the decision to parole this guy was made a full year ago, and is just going wide now … TR

  • Patty J Lessley-Douglas August 5, 2013 (7:00 pm)

    I will NEVER understand why the hell they let these CHILD MOLESTERS/RAPISTS go free. They should all be castrated as soon as they are convicted!

  • libertygirl August 5, 2013 (7:11 pm)

    why is he free???? This wasn’t only kidnapping and rape, it was also attempted murder!!!!!!! WTF!!!!!

  • Lyckatill August 5, 2013 (7:21 pm)

    “Sister”–I’m so sorry about what happened to your family. I hope the scumbag who hurt your sister rots in prison for the rest of his life.

  • Diane V August 5, 2013 (7:49 pm)

    Are you kidding me!?!
    How is this not ‘attempted murder’?
    Because he didn’t succeed in killing this little girl he gets a second chance to get it right? Really?
    I am dumbfounded…and angry …and sad.
    There should be no second chance when you torture another person (especially a young child) and then attempt to kill them. None at all.

  • Fiz August 5, 2013 (7:51 pm)

    The DOC is looking for a place where he can live permanently?! Really?!

    He HAD a place where he could live permanently. Where there are no14 year old girls.

  • mb August 5, 2013 (8:20 pm)

    I dont think anything I can say about this would be appropriate for this site. Ill be watching my son like a hawk. (I know he targeted girls, but theres many creeps out there who would hurt a boy). I wont ever give anyone a chance to even think about hurting my child. They’ll be dead, and NOT sitting in prison, and definitely not being released to be free again.

  • mb August 5, 2013 (8:21 pm)

    Lesley I agree with you and many more of you. Sickening!!!!

  • scubafrog August 5, 2013 (8:38 pm)

    Disgusting. He’s not ‘rehabilitated’. He’ll reoffend, you can’t cure these people. This was a clear case of Attempted Murder, child molestation, kidnapping and a plethora of other violent, felonious acts: “Hooper dumped her in the water of Hood Canal after binding her hands and partially binding her feet”.

    Politicians, a judge, and the DOC failed us (again) with this monster. When he reoffends, I wonder what the excuse will be amongst said officials.

  • JKB August 5, 2013 (9:10 pm)

    Here’s a guy with apparently no redeeming features and plenty of badness to condemn him for. Many of you have basically called for his being put down.

    Neglecting the practical aspects (sometimes convicts turn out to be innocent after all) and the moral ones (when is it correct to kill someone?), let me ask a personal question: Could you pull the trigger at his firing squad, or throw his electric-chair switch?

  • nonono August 5, 2013 (9:13 pm)

    It’s as if the review board has no brain.

  • Marshall August 5, 2013 (9:27 pm)

    > Could you pull the trigger at his firing squad, or throw his electric-chair switch?

    Yes.

  • scubafrog August 5, 2013 (9:34 pm)

    JKB, I haven’t seen 1 person in this thread call for it’s death. You seem to be confused. I’m calling for his lifetime incarceration (as are most of the posters).

  • Sarah August 5, 2013 (10:00 pm)

    JKB….. You seem to have missed the part were he “confessed” to his crimes. Snap out of it, he isn’t innocent. Please name “one” or several convicted sex offenders that have been wrongfully convicted. I think it is really sick that you would try to stand up for these sick monsters that prey on helpless children. Find a different blog!

  • I. Ponder August 5, 2013 (10:14 pm)

    Thanks to DJ Allyn for explaining a bit about the realities of how our justice system works. I’m clear about the year the crime was committed but unclear about how long he’s actually been in prison. Has he been imprisoned since 1982? 30+ years? I suppose most convicted criminals eventually get out of prison. Not like on TV where there can be a neatly packaged ending. This is one bad guy you can read about but of course there are others. The Q-13 website says:

    “There are 5,719 registered sex offenders in the state of Washington, and 1,587 of them are Level 3, which is the most likely to re-offend. Also, 830 are non-compliant, which means they are not checking in with law enforcement and police don’t know where they are living.

    Read more: http://q13fox.com/local-news/stories/sex-offender-sentenced-to-life-released-on-parole/#ixzz2bA8OGcEU

    • WSB August 5, 2013 (11:13 pm)

      Ponder, he was arrested within days of the kidnapping/rape/etc., that’s all I know at this point, so I am fairly sure he’s been behind bars since then. DOC contends that he probably served longer than he would have under the penalties for these crimes set out in current law. Meantime, while the docket information that is online does not say what the original charges were, it does indicate he pleaded guilty to “amended information” without a trial – aka a plea bargain of some kind.

  • John August 5, 2013 (10:21 pm)

    Shameful. This man should never be free to roam our streets after the heinous crimes he committed in our community.

  • Resident3 August 5, 2013 (10:44 pm)

    Follow the link WSB posted for the ISRB and email them these comments. It’s easy! There’s no harm in letting them know what you think about this persons release.

  • M Flash August 5, 2013 (10:46 pm)

    Who will be his next unlucky victim? I am sickened by this release….WA Judges…WTF????

  • Mike August 6, 2013 (12:09 am)

    ‘The sheriff immediately took a look at Hooper’s prison file. A 2010 evaluation showed Hooper was still considered a violent risk to the community and that the “possibility of very serious psychological and/or physical harm, if not lethality, would be considerable.”’
    .
    Read more: http://q13fox.com/2013/07/31/violent-rapist-sentenced-to-life-is-released-living-in-seattle/#ixzz2bAct5BOc
    .
    Be vigilant, I know I will with 2 very young daughters. Rather just drop him in the Grizzly pen at the zoo and call it good.

  • WSTypo August 6, 2013 (12:38 am)

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention in a thoughtful, balanced way and including the current photo too. Your additional research is really scary – more than 800 sex offenders have whereabouts unknown. Wow.

    Also, thanks for the plea info. I was thinking at the end of the story that this had to be a plea. Conjecture only, but thinking the prosecution accepted in order to spare the young victim the additional trauma of testifying against her accuser in court.

  • Coyote August 6, 2013 (12:51 am)

    Jesus asked us to forgive sinners. 30 years is a LONG time after all. Get this guy a Brazzers account and he’ll never leave the house again.

  • Protective Parent August 6, 2013 (7:05 am)

    TR, I know there is a sex offender registry but is there any way to find out what violations (other than dangerous crimes) would violate a particular offender’s parole? I’m thinking with 800 unreporting offenders and many others registered around the state and on our streets, a solid thing my neighbors and I can do is to know who and where they are and how to get offenders like Hooper back behind bars for the most minor violations first.

    • WSB August 6, 2013 (7:57 am)

      Here’s some general information:
      .
      http://www.doc.wa.gov/community/sexoffenders/rulesincommunity.asp
      .
      But – keep in mind this is only if they are still under DOC supervision. For that, you would need to look up their case, and if they weren’t convicted in recent years in King County, that might not be anything resembling easy.

  • Lisann L August 6, 2013 (7:32 am)

    Is there a way to find out where he ends up living? I assume he will need to register as a sex offender…I am not one to be paranoid but the majority of these offenders statistically are not rehabilitated successfully and if he is coming back to the WS community I definitely want to know! Especially as a parent to a young girl.

    • WSB August 6, 2013 (7:59 am)

      Lisann – The best thing to do (you will probably beat me to the followup if you do this) is keep an eye on his page on the sex offender registry – I have it directly linked in the story – but you can also use the name tab at the bottom of the page here:
      .
      http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/SOSearch.aspx
      .
      I have this on my “watch list” now but as I say … others checking might find the info faster than I will if something changes the day after I check, etc. And I’ll be following up with the DOC if it appears the same address remains there for weeks, etc.

  • Michelle August 6, 2013 (7:57 am)

    This is disgusting. I hope his 14-year old victim (now, about 46?) has been warned. Even if she is no longer in this community, she deserves to know that the man who tried to kill her has walked free.

  • wingding August 6, 2013 (8:45 am)

    Bleeding heart libs get what they deserve when they vote for bleeding heart libs.

    • WSB August 6, 2013 (9:29 am)

      To Wingding: The Sentencing Reform Act of 1981 took effect, according to the various histories I’ve been able to find, under the administration of Republican Gov. John Spellman.

  • JoB August 6, 2013 (8:54 am)

    coyote..
    when i was 16, i was abducted off a street corner by a man speaking in a deadly calm voice and wielding a knife.
    the only reason i am alive today is that some dock workers were picking up overtime on a saturday and finally allowed me to call my mother even though my abductor told them i was his wife.
    .
    after losing me, within minutes, he tried to abduct another young woman who screamed and was seriously injured.
    .
    in spite of the fact that my assailant was easily identifiable.. he had been released from jail that day.. having served his time for abduction and rape of another young woman and was checking in with his parole officer
    he was not apprehended and sentenced until he managed to complete his task.. abducting, raping and murdering at least two more young women…
    before summer ended.
    .
    what my assailant learned in jail the first time was to leave no witnesses…
    what he learned in jail the second time?
    i don’t know. His life sentence was served years ago and he was released back into society.
    i chose not to follow his progress because the nightmares he induced have never gone away.
    .
    the victims and their families serve true lifetime sentences.
    .
    i believe in forgiveness.. that gift allows me to face each day…
    but I see no reason why offenders such as this one should be released into society to cause more sorrow.
    .
    why should assailants should be given a better deal than their victims?
    .
    forgiving them does not mean that we have to turn them loose to reoffend.

  • lookingforlogic August 6, 2013 (8:58 am)

    How current was the photo?

  • My2Cents August 6, 2013 (9:48 am)

    At least we can identify this one. There are still plenty of people living among us who are getting away with molestation, rape and other abuses that we don’t know about. They could be anyone and they could be right next door. The fact that 1 in 3 persons has an abuse story is proof that Mr. Hooper is just one of many sick individuals. If you don’t know your neighbors, then you don’t KNOW your neighbors. I hope he proves himself a man worthy of a second chance.

  • JKB August 6, 2013 (9:52 am)

    Sarah, sarah… Read the post before you spout off.

  • a August 6, 2013 (11:24 am)

    so well said JoB. I’m very sorry for what you went through. Victims of these crimes are given a life sentence by their attacker. What happened to you and other victims never goes away no matter how much counseling you receive. You can go on to live a somewhat normal life but what happened to you will stay with you the rest of your life. Alot of victims of sexual assault end up in a downward spiral turning to drugs and even prostitution because they can’t handle the pain that was inflicted on them. It’s sad that there are people out there that inflict this kind of pain upon another person but what is even more sad is that our system doesn’t protect us from these people. You sexually assault someone you give that victim a life sentence so why does our system give you a second chance? Doesn’t seem fair to me but then again nothing is fair when it comes to our system. I guess we should stop being naive and realize the system won’t adequately protect us

  • AHresident August 6, 2013 (2:10 pm)

    The sexual assault laws/sentencing guidelines that exist today are a complete joke, and obviously don’t reflect the wants of the community at large, thanks to indifferent politicians or inept judges that perpetually run unopposed. Sadly, there is no such thing as criminal ‘justice’ any longer, as the rights of the aggressors are being protected at the expense of the law-abiding citizens’ sense of safety. It seems as though vigilante justice is the only kind that exists any more. So watch your back, pedophiles, molesters, and rapists…

  • evergreen August 6, 2013 (2:37 pm)

    Our laws suck. So why couldn’t they convert a “life sentence” to a fixed 80 years? Is our society INSANE???

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 6, 2013 (3:38 pm)

    Could you pull the trigger at his firing squad, or throw his electric-chair switch?
    Without a second thought or hesitation.

    I would prefer a gun. with him on his knees, head up facing me, while I looked him in the eyes and pulled the trigger, putting a bullet between his eyes.
    Of course I would rather tie his feet and hands, and then throw him in the middle of Puget Sound and laugh while he struggles to swim, then celebrate when he disappears under the waves for the final time.
    And I would look at myself in the mirror say “You did a GREAT thing ridding the world of a scumbag like that.”
    Then I would crawl in bed and sleep the sleep of the righteous.

    • WSB August 6, 2013 (3:48 pm)

      A different photo of Hooper has appeared on his page in the sex-offender-lookup system:
      .
      http://www.icrimewatch.net/offenderdetails.php?OfndrID=1369908&AgencyID=54473
      .
      Not very different. But I am not sure which is newer. The one now online with our story was grabbed off the site literally minutes before we published this, and the change on that site was made in the past 24 hours or so.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 6, 2013 (3:58 pm)

    The sexual assault laws/sentencing guidelines that exist today are a complete joke, and obviously don’t reflect the wants of the community at large, thanks to indifferent politicians or inept judges that perpetually run unopposed.
    The sentencing guidelines and release of pedophiles, rapists and sex offenders into communities are the way they are, because of a US Supreme Court (USSC) ruling in the late 80’s.
    There was a repeat sex offender in (iirc) Kansas that had completed his sentence and was being involuntarily committed/locked up, as a precaution to keep the “community” safe.
    He sued the state of Kansas, with the financial and legal help of the ACLU, for violation of his civil rights via the 8th Amendment.
    He, and the ACLU, won the case which the state then appealed all the way up to the USSC, which upheld the original ruling.
    The case became a “Class Action” suit to include ALL those involuntarily committed/locked up whether in a prison or mental institution/hospital.
    The result saw some of the WORST sexual sadists, rapists, mentally ill people set free, and saw an EXPLOSION in the “Mental Illness” category of the homeless population, as those released from mental institutions, refused or were unable to care for themselves yet could not be re-admitted against their will.
    People erroneously blame Reagan for cutting funding for the Mentally Ill as the reason for the mass release, but the funding cuts were made because the ruling freed so many that the institutions were empty money was being wasted by keeping them open.

  • Lou August 6, 2013 (4:44 pm)

    This is outrageous! What does it take to keep someone in jail? One more time and it’s 3 strikes? WTF.

  • good day in ws August 7, 2013 (10:33 pm)

    Off with his head, right in the middle of California Ave SW and SW Alaska St. Let everyone know, so they may or may not attend.

  • TimeToFightBack August 23, 2013 (1:23 pm)

    @ Ex-Westwood, couldn’t have said it better myself — this animal will re-offend and because some useless Washingron Judge has deemed it a fine idea to endanger our lives by letting this slime ooze back on to OUR streets – we’re supposed to be OK wIth that? NO WAY – NOT ME. He had forfeit his right to live among us long ago – execution is a viable option and I’d feel great about knowing Hooper was put to death for his CONVICTED, CONFESSED crimes.

    @ JKB, YES. WITH NO RESTRAINT OR HESITATION.

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