Jury Seated In Coe Case

SPOKANE — Prosecutors and defense attorneys have empaneled a jury of eight women, four men and four alternates for the Kevin Coe civil commitment trial.

Todd Bowers with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office said that opening statements in the case should get underway Monday morning.

Defense attorneys also made another request for a change of venue of Thursday morning, calling Kevin Coe’s case a part of Spokane’s culture.

“Our jury system isn’t at its fairest when people in our community, as one juror said it, have lived the case,” attorney John Rogers said.

Judge Kathleen O’Conner denied the request, saying that she didn’t think it was necessary to move the trial, adding that with careful selection prosecutors and the defense alike would be able to find an impartial jury here in Spokane.

When Kevin Coe returns to court this Monday morning it will be the first time a local jury will decide his fate. A jury from western Washington came to Spokane and convicted him of six rapes in 1981, though an appeals court overturned the case and his retrial was moved to Seattle.

The jury of eight women and four men will decide if Coe is a sexually violent predator. Prosecutors will argue Coe has a mental illness and he will likely rape again if set free while Coe’s attorneys say he’s an aging man and no longer a threat.    

Prosecutors say Coe is the South Hill Rapist, who terrorized Spokane during the late 70s and early 80s and is suspected in more than 40 attacks.

Judge Kathleen O’Connor has already ruled that prosecutors are barred from calling him the South Hill Rapist during the trial because in the end he was convicted of only one of the rapes.

Coe has always maintained his innocence.