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Bellingham man who raped teen, threatened toddler at Samish motel sent to prison

McClatchy

A Bellingham man who choked and raped a teenage girl and threatened to kill her family, including a 3-year-old boy, at a Samish Way motel more than a year ago will spend more than half a decade in prison.

Andrew Garrette Seeman, 31, was sentenced last Tuesday in Whatcom County Superior Court to 7 ½ years in prison, with three years of probation, for second-degree assault and third-degree rape. Seeman was given an exceptional sentence above the standard range in exchange for dropping four of his original charges, court records show. He also has to register as a sex offender.

Seeman entered an Alford plea Dec. 5, meaning he acknowledges there’s enough evidence that a jury likely would find him guilty, but maintains his innocence – it’s still a conviction.

In September 2016, a then 17-year-old girl, her mother and her then 3-year-old brother were homeless and living in different motels in Whatcom and Skagit counties, according to court records. The family met Seeman at a motel in Burlington and shortly after, Seeman began staying and traveling to different motels with the family. They were also joined by a friend of Seeman’s. The group worked together to pay for the motel rooms.

In early December of that year, the group moved to motels on Samish Way in Bellingham, before settling at the Villa Inn. Seeman brought several knives with him, and “he had assigned each knife a number, which he claimed represented the number of people he had killed with it,” according to court papers. He often threw the knives at the walls or floor.

Seeman would have private conversations with the 17-year-old girl and tell her they should have sex and that he loved her, records show.

In mid-December, Seeman was teaching the girl self-defense moves, but became angry at her for not performing up to his standards. He pushed her on a bed and pulled her pants down –he stopped when the girl’s mother came out of the bathroom, according to court papers filed in the case.

The girl then went to the bathroom, which Seeman followed her into. Seeman pulled the girl’s pants and underwear off, pinned her down and raped her, while she repeatedly fought him and said no, records show.

When she tried to call for her mother in the other room, Seeman choked her. The girl’s mother said she heard, but did nothing because she didn’t want to make things worse, according to court documents.

Seeman then grabbed the girl by her hair and threw her out into the main room in front of the group, with nothing but her tank top on.

Seeman threw a knife into the middle of the floor and told the mother, the girl, the brother and the friend he would “tie them up and stab them” if anyone went past the knife to leave the room, according to court documents.

He told them he would start with the 3-year-old and would “put it through his chest,” court records show.

The group was unable to leave for two days, until Seeman let them leave to find money.

Police found knife marks on the floor and walls, orange-handled knives and clothing belonging to the girl and her mother when they searched the motel room.

Seeman, who refused to provide a sentencing interview, has a history of methamphetamine and alcohol use. The girl underwent a sexual assault examination at a hospital and had bruises on her knee, under her arm, on her throat area and on the back of her neck, according to court records.

Child Protective Services took custody of both the girl and her brother.

Gary Shutler, DNA Technical Leader at the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, shows the components of a "rape kit" for collection of evidence after a sexual assault.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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