SPOKANE -- A jury of eight women and four men took less than 24 hours to decide that Kevin Coe should be civilly committed indefinitely.
The jury began deliberations at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday following closing arguments in which the state attorney general's office has painted Coe as being highly likely to re-offend a suffers from a range of mental disorders that have been left untreated.
Coe's defense on the other hand have called Coe's actions criminal but not crazy and that he chose to rape but did not do it out of a compulsion.
Just after 1:30 p.m. Thursday the jury returned with a unanimous verdict that Coe be committed to the Special Commitment Center at McNeil Island in Puget Sound. Judge Kathleen O'Connor then polled each individual juror to make sure the decision was unanimous.
Defense attorney Tim Trageser confirmed immediately following the hearing he would be appealing the verdict.
Almost immediately after the verdict was read Shelley Monahan, one of Coe's victims, had her own reaction to the jury's decision.
"After 29 years it's finally over. It's been a long hard fought battle and something the victims have wanted for such a long time and finaly today justice has been served and our community is going to be safer because of it," she said.
For three decades Coe, 61, has been widely identified as the South Hill Rapist, a person responsible for a string of rapes that terrorized the Spokane area in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
He was arrested for the crimes but following his high profile trial and several appeals he was convicted on just one rape case, that of now-former Spokane resident Julie Harmia. Coe was sentenced to serve 25 years at the state penitentiary in Walla Walla.
At the end of his sentence in 2006 the Washington Attorney General began the process of having Coe civilly committed as a dangerous sex offender that posed a threat to society.
Most of the time since the conclusion of his sentence he has been held at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island in Puget Sound, the site where he will now be held indefinitely.
This was the 100th civil commitment case the state has prosecuted. Save for less than a half dozen of those cases all of them ended up similarly to Coe's with verdicts in favor of commitment.
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