Special Reports

Death penalty might apply

The man suspected of kidnapping and killing 12-year-old Zina Linnik will be charged Monday with the state’s highest crime, Pierce County prosecutors said Friday.

Terapon Dang Adhahn, 42, is to appear in Superior Court at 1:30 p.m. to answer to one charge of aggravated first-degree murder in the Tacoma girl’s death.

He gave investigators information that led them to Zina’s body July 12 near Silver Lake in East Pierce County.

A conviction of aggravated first-degree murder carries a possible death sentence. Deputy prosecutor Ed Murphy declined Friday to discuss whether a decision has been made about whether to pursue the death penalty against Adhahn.

Under state law, Prosecutor Gerald Horne has 30 days from the time of Adhahn’s arraignment on the charge to notify the court whether he intends to seek capital punishment.

The only other sentence available for a conviction on the charge is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Horne has scheduled a news conference after Adhahn’s arraignment.

Mary Kay High, one of two court-appointed attorneys assigned to represent Adhahn, declined to talk about Friday’s announcement.

Prosecutors did not say if they intend to charge Adhahn with any sex crimes in Zina’s case. Authorities have not said if they believe the girl was sexually assaulted.

Zina disappeared from an alley behind her Hilltop home the evening of July 4.

Adhahn, a convicted sex offender and native of Thailand, was detained on immigration violations July 8 after a tip led investigators to his Parkland home.

On Thursday, prosecutors charged Adhahn with 12 crimes unrelated to Zina’s death, including the rapes of two school-age girls. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and was being held in jail in lieu of just more than $2 million bail.