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Murder-hire trial starts

Aaron Hahn's murder-for-hire trial began this week with preliminary motions and jury selection possibly beginning Wednesday. Opening statements could come later.

Hahn, 28, of Gresham, Ore., faces a possible life sentence for allegedly trying to hire a fellow inmate to kill a teenage Sequim girl with whom he had had a sexual relationship. He is being held in Clallam County Jail on

$1 million bail.

Prosecutor Deb Kelly had filed additional charges Sept. 18 of witness tampering, intimidating a witness and violation of a no-contact order - first or second offense.

But public defender Ralph Anderson said Friday after negotiations late last week, Kelly decided to drop them.

Hahn had faced another trial on child rape charges but entered an "Alford plea" to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor on July 20. The plea means he doesn't admit guilt but concedes the state likely could prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 1. Prosecutors recommend 36 months in prison with credit for time served, three to four years probation and $2,150 in fines and court costs.

Nine other charges were dropped as part of the agreement, including four counts of child rape, one of possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one of stalking/domestic violence.

The charges stem from a relationship with a teenage Sequim girl who Hahn met online and his reportedly threatening behavior after she ended the relationship.

The girl went to police shortly after a Port Angeles woman was killed by an ex-boyfriend who had been stalking her, fearing a similar outcome.

Sequim Police arrested Hahn in March 2008 in a sting operation that brought him to Castle Rock in Washington, thus avoiding the need to extradite him from Oregon.

On May 27, 2008, while awaiting trial, Hahn allegedly attempted to hire a fellow inmate to kill his reported victim.



Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@

sequimgazette.com.

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