Testimony begins in Coe's civil commitment trial - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Testimony begins in Coe's civil commitment trial

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  • Coe's Commitment Trial

    Coe's Commitment Trial

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  • South Hill Rapist: Kevin Coe

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    After being released from prison, convicted South Hill Rapist, Kevin Coe, faces a civil commitment hearing.  KHQ has compiled several documents, stories and videos that offer perspective on this important news story.>>
    After being released from prison, the convicted South Hill Rapist, Kevin Coe, faces a civil commitment hearing.  KHQ has compiled several documents, stories and videos that offer perspective on this important news story in the Inland Northwest.>>

SPOKANE, Wash. - One by one they took the stand, telling the court the awful memories that remain from nearly 30 years ago.  The witnesses brought painful emotion to the courtroom on the first day of proceedings in Kevin Coe's civil commitment trial.

One woman, who was 16-years-old at the time Spokane was paralyzed by fear of the South Hill Rapist, said she accepted a ride home from a stranger who later sexually assaulted her in the front seat of his car.  She identified the man as Kevin Coe from the pages of a 1965 Lewis and Clark High School yearbook.

That particular victim's mother chose not to go forward with prosecuting the case.  Coe was never charged for that crime that the state says he committed.

Also in the court on Monday, lawyers showed a videotaped deposition taken two months ago.  During that deposition, Coe told lawyers he mistakenly entered an apartment on the South Hill, thinking it was a friend's apartment in California.  He said a mix of allergy medicines and alcohol made him hallucinate.  The woman who lived there said otherwise and described waking up to a man half-naked on top of her.  Coe said he never removed his clothes.  A police officer testified Coe was arrested for burglary and indecent liberties.

Another woman testified Monday in gruesome detail what happened to her.  She was one of a handful of women who said they were attacked near a bus stop but never identified Coe.  She said she was too afraid to point out her aggressor, but now - nearly three decades later - she is positive it was Coe who assaulted her.

Monday was the first day of Coe's trial that could take a considerable amount of time.  Lawyers for the State will try to show Coe should be civilly committed, arguing he was someone who plotted out his attacks over and over again and could do it again if released. 

Coe's defense attorneys argued their client was convicted for a single rape of one woman in 1981, and that one rape does not make him a serial rapist.
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