State Supreme Court rejects appeal from South Hill Rapist
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the appeal of a convicted rapist challenging the verdict that found him to be a mentally ill sexual predator.
“Today’s decision will come as a relief to the South Hill Rapist’s victims, the people of Spokane and all of us who seek to keep the state’s most dangerous, mentally ill offenders off the streets,” said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna. “Attorneys and support staff from our office have worked for years on this case and today once again deserve our thanks.”
Kevin Coe served 25 years for a rape committed in 1981. Originally charged with six rapes, only one of his four convictions survived appeals. As his prison term approached its end, the Attorney General’s Office filed a petition alleging that Coe is a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). Under state law, such a legal label keeps a dangerously mentally ill offender behind bars until they can demonstrate they don’t pose a threat to the public.
After his release from prison, Coe was sent to the state’s Special Commitment Center at McNeil Island while the Attorney General’s Office and Coe’s attorney prepared the case for trial. During the SVP trial, state attorneys presented evidence that Coe committed 18 rapes and 15 other sex offenses, including indecent liberties and indecent exposure, over a 15-year period in Spokane. Based on evidence drawn from over 70,000 pages of records, they presented the testimony of sexual assault victims, as well as of experts and other witnesses, demonstrating that Coe’s mental condition makes him an extreme threat to the public.
In October 2008, a unanimous jury found that the Attorney General’s Office’s had proved its case, and returned a verdict keeping Coe at McNeil Island. Coe appealed, claiming there were a number of errors committed by the trial judge and his attorneys. That case ultimately landed at the State Supreme Court, where it was today rejected. In its decision, the state’s highest court found “no reversible error” in Coe’s SVP trial. Coe will remain at McNeil Island until he can demonstrate that his mental illness has been successfully treated.
McKenna today recognized the following Attorney General’s Office attorneys and staff for their work on the Coe case. At the trial court level: