Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kevin Coe - deemed a Predator and Civilly Committed

After hearing three weeks of testimony, a Spokane County jury took one day to decide that convicted rapist Kevin Coe should remain committed to a mental facility as a violent sexual predator.

Though Coe, 61, has served a 25-year sentence for the 1980 rape of a Spokane woman, prosecutors claimed Coe was still sexually deviant and should be committed to prison for an extended period, possibly for the rest of his life.

Coe remained expressionless as the eight-woman, four-man jury announced their unanimous "yes" verdict in court.

Coe will continue to be housed at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island in Puget Sound. He’s been at McNeil Island for the past two years since the state started civil commitment proceedings in September 2006 when he released from prison.

The jury's job in Coe's civil committment trial was to determine not whether Coe was previously guilty of any crime, but whether or not he was a threat to society.

Even though Coe only served time for the single Spokane rape conviction, law enforcement and prosecutors linked him to more than 30 cases of rape and assault, most of which occurred on Spokane's South Hill.

Coe still denies committing any of the other 33 rapes state experts have linked him to, said Assistant Attorney General Malcom Ross during closing arguments Wednesday. He added that Coe has taken no action to rehabilitate himself and has consistently refused to undergo sexual offender treatment during 25 years of incarceration. The state presented testimony from a sex psychologist who determined that Coe is still a risk to society.

Other female victims of Coe's also testified on the stand to rapes committed against them. Prosecutors also cited testimony from a female corrections officer who stated in a deposition that she observed Coe masturbating in his prison cell.

During the trial, defense attorneys presented an expert witness who said Coe may very well be "kinky" but is not the sexual deviant prosecutors have characterized. Defense attorneys suggested that Coe has paid his debt to society and should be released.

While on the stand, Coe denied committing any rapes. He said if released he would like to move to either Reno or Las Vegas to start a new life.

Coe will now be sent back to the McNeill Island penitentiary for sexual offenders.

According to the Spokesman Review, Coe will be re-evaluated annually to see if his mental condition has improved to the point where he can be released to society or moved to a less restrictive facility. The release decision could be reached through an agreement between stage and defense attorneys or a new trial could be held before a judge or jury.

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"
.........Sarah Tofte

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