SPOKANE – The Washington State Court of Appeals Division III today affirmed convicted rapist Kevin Coe’s civil commitment as a sexually violent predator.
“Today’s decision means notorious sexual predator Kevin Coe will remain in a secure facility until such time as he is no longer a danger to the community,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said. “In that sense, I hope the decision will continue to bring peace of mind to the people of Spokane and the women he injured.”
Coe, 64, will remain at the state’s Special Commitment Center at McNeil Island, where he has been housed since his release from prison in 2006. A state law allows detention of offenders who, after completing their original sentences, suffer from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes them “more likely than not” to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence.
Coe, commonly referred to in media reports as the “South Hill Rapist,” was convicted in 1985 of the first-degree rape of a Spokane resident. The state believes he is responsible for dozens of sexual assaults in Spokane over a nearly 20 year period ending in the early 1980s.
Prosecutors for the Attorney General’s Office petitioned for his civil commitment on Aug. 30, 2006. The case went to trial in October 2008 and a jury affirmed that Coe is likely to reoffend if released.
Coe appealed, arguing that the trial judge should not have allowed certain testimony pertaining to sexual attacks that never resulted in charges. He also asserted he was denied due process to confront witnesses and received ineffective assistance from his trial lawyer. Appellate Judge Stephen Brown wrote the opinion rejecting Coe’s arguments and Judges Laurel Siddoway and Dennis Sweeney concurred.
McKenna congratulated the work of Assistant Attorney General Malcolm Ross, who represented the state throughout the appeal including oral arguments in February.
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