SPOKANE, Wash. -

The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's decision to keep Kevin Coe in custody at the state's special commitment center at McNeil Island in western Washington.

Coe appealed his commitment, arguing the judge violated his rights when she allowed prosecutors to use evidence of rapes he was never charged with.

In the ruling the Supreme Court said the uncharged crimes should not have been included in the case but Coe's commitment stands because there was still overwhelming evidence to support his commitment.

The justices were unanimous in their decision to uphold Coe's commitment.

Coe was arrested after a string of rapes on Spokane's South Hill. He was suspected of committing 43 rapes on the South Hill during the 1970s and early 80s and after a trial, appeals and a retrial he was convicted of one rape.

As he was scheduled to be released from prison in 2006, the state filed to have Coe deemed a sexually violent predator. The jury in the case ruled he would likely re-offend if released and should remain locked up.

Coe appealed the commitment, arguing he had ineffective council and the judge erred when she allowed the jury to hear testimony of rapes Coe was never charged with.

In the court's ruling Thursday the state Supreme Court ruled it found no reversible error in the case and upheld Coe's commitment. The ruling does not mean Coe will be locked up for life, however.

He can still petition to be released from the special commitment center, but will have to show he's no longer a threat to the community, which will be hard to prove since he still denies he committed the rapes and continues to refuse any treatment at McNeil Island.