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Trial scheduled for October for man who allegedly kidnapped Whitehall girls

Trial scheduled for October for man who allegedly kidnapped Whitehall girls

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FORT EDWARD — The trial for a Missouri man who was involved in the alleged kidnapping of two Washington County girls in August 2019 is scheduled to start on Oct. 5.

Brian F. Hafer will stand trial in Washington County Court. Hafer and another man, Bradley R. Mittler, allegedly abducted the Whitehall girls, ages 14 and 15.

Brian Hafer

Hafer

Mittler had met one of the girls online and arranged to meet her. Although the girls willingly left with the men on the night of Aug. 29, 2019, they could not legally consent to going because of their ages.

Mittler repeatedly raped one of the girls in a Queensbury motel before leaving the area. Hafer is not accused of having sexual contact with either girl.

The men dropped the girls off at a restaurant in southern Ohio on Aug. 30, after they learned they had been reported missing by their parents and guardians.

Mittler pleaded guilty in January to felony kidnapping and, under the terms of an agreement with prosecutors, he will serve a 15-year prison sentence and testify against Hafer.

Hafer had turned down a plea deal in February that included a 10-year prison sentence. His trial was set to begin on March 23, but it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hafer’s lawyer, Mark Zuckerman, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. He has said previously, however, that the proposed plea deal was excessive, because his client’s role in the episode was limited.

Zuckerman said Hafer only agreed to tag along with Mittler during the trip to meet the young woman in Whitehall.

Hafer could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count of second-degree kidnapping.

Washington County First Assistant District Attorney Christian Morris is prosecuting the case. He did not return a message on Tuesday seeking comment.

Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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