Judge: State Can Obtain DNA Sample From Coe

SPOKANE – A judge Thursday ruled that the state can obtain a new DNA sample from convicted rapist Kevin Coe while attorneys on both sides of the case say much work remains before they head to trial.

Defense attorneys have said they want South Hill Rapist Kevin Coe’s civil commitment trial delayed for another year and next week they will ask the judge to move the trial from this summer to March 2008.

State prosecutors say they will need to interview more than 40 people before they will be ready to go to trial and attempt to prove Coe, even though he’s finished serving his 25-year prison sentence on a single count of 1st Degree Rape, is a sexually violent predator and should be confined to the special commitment center at McNeil Island in western Washington.

Only one of Coe’s rape convictions withstood appeal but he is suspected of raping more than 40 women in Spokane in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Coe still denies he raped anyone but new DNA evidence discovered last year links him to one rape. On Thursday, Judge Kathleen O’Connor said the state could obtain a second DNA sample to confirm the lab’s results.

Coe’s attorney, Tim Trageser, questions the DNA evidence that was missing for 25 years and suddenly appeared last year.

“We certainly deny Mr. Coe was involved in the rape and deny any DNA on the slide was from a sexual assault. It’s our position it was put their inadvertantly or perhaps even intentionally,” Trageser said, adding he will fight to keep the DNA evidence out of Coe’s civil commitment trial.

Prosecutors, however, say they are confident the DNA evidence will be admissible in the trial and will prove that Coe despite decades of denials is the South Hill rapist.