Man pleads guilty in Pullman cold case rapes

Kenneth Downing
Credit: SPD

PULLMAN, Wash. – An Elk man has pleaded guilty to a series of rapes that happened in Pullman nearly 20 years ago. 

Kenneth Downing, 47, pleaded guilty to four counts of felony first-degree rape and one count of felony second-degree assault with sexual motivation. 

Downing was arrested at a Spokane job site in March. Police said he broke into homes and raped women between 2003 and 2004. 

Court records show that in one case, he entered a woman’s room, walked around her house and raped her at gunpoint. In a similar case, he broke into a house, pointed a gun at two victims, tied one to a chair and raped the other. 

DNA was collected and submitted for testing in both cases. 

Downing was ultimately identified through genetic genealogy. That DNA evidence matched other DNA from Downing’s family tree. 

He will be sentenced on August 19. He faces between 17 and 23 years in prison. 

RELATED: Suspect in cold case rape arrested at Spokane job site

READ: How police identified a rape suspect 18 years after the crime