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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Kevin Coe timeline

Key moments leading to the arrest and conviction of Kevin Coe, known as the South Hill rapist.


April 26: A 19-year-old woman walks home from a restaurant after a quarrel with her husband and is raped shortly after midnight in the West 1200 block of Indiana. In a photo lineup, she will later identify Frederick Harlan Coe as her attacker.


Aug. 30: A 15-year-old girl who took the bus home from a rock concert is raped about 12:30 a.m. at 16th and Cedar. In a live lineup, she will identify Coe as her attacker.

Oct. 23: A 27-year-old woman, returning from work by bus on her first day in a new neighborhood, is raped about 6:30 p.m. in the East 3600 block of 22nd. In a live lineup, she will identify Coe as her attacker.

Dec. 17: A 14-year-old girl walking to meet a friend is raped about 6:30 p.m. at Ralph and 18th. In a live lineup, she will identify Coe as her attacker.

Feb. 5: A 51-year-old woman jogging at Hart Field is raped about 7 a.m. In a live lineup, she will identify Coe as her attacker.

Feb. 6: A janitor at Sacajawea Junior High School, near Hart Field, calls police and tells them he saw a silver Chevrolet Citation in the area the previous morning. The car is later traced to Coe.


Feb. 9: A 20-year-old woman drops off her son at her mother’s home and is raped three houses away about 6:30 a.m. in the West 400 block of 24th. In a live lineup, she will pick out Coe.

Feb. 25: Police begin steady surveillance of Coe’s movements.

March 4: Under mounting public pressure, Spokane Police Chief Robert Panther calls a press conference to announce that police have spent 8,600 man-hours trying to catch the South Hill rapist.

March 8: An 18-year-old woman says she is confronted by a man, apparently waving a plastic penis, while she’s running near Upriver Drive. She will later identify the man as Coe. Others in the area see Coe’s car and take down his license plate number.

March 10: Suspect known as Frederick Harlan Coe, 34, is arrested at his real estate office on a charge of raping a 51-year-old woman at Hart Field. Other rape victims identify him in a police lineup that night.

March 11: Bond is raised to $100,000 as police cite a link with the South Hill rapist case.

March 13: Rape victims view police lineup; some single out Coe.

March 23: Coe is charged with five more counts of rape. He pleads innocent.

March 30: Defense attorney files motion to see police reports.

April 4: Coe is released on $35,000 bond.

April 10: Judge George T. Shields rules that Coe’s court-appointed public defenders can’t see copies of police reports in the case, a first since court discovery rules went into effect in 1973. Shields later modifies his ruling and allows lawyers to see some reports.

May 27: Shields postpones Coe’s trial from June 1 until July 20 at the request of defense attorneys.

July 5: In an interview with the Seattle Times, Coe maintains his innocence and says he and his mother were trying to catch the South Hill rapist themselves.

July 15: Jury selection begins in Spokane but is moved to Seattle because an impartial panel can’t be found.

July 20: Trial begins in Spokane with King County jury.

July 24: Coe’s former live-in girlfriend testifies that she suspected last December that Coe, because of odd behavior, might be the South Hill rapist.

July 27: On the witness stand, Coe flatly denies that he’s the South Hill rapist. His mother testifies that she was with him at the times that each of the six rapes occurred.

July 29: Jury convicts Coe on four counts, acquits him on two. Prosecutor Donald Brockett says he’s convinced Coe is the rapist responsible for some 20 South Hill attacks, but that he doesn’t expect to file more charges.

Aug. 17: Shields sentences Coe to life plus 75 years. He denies a defense request to commit Coe to a mental institution.

Oct. 7: Coe’s attorneys ask state Supreme Court to overturn the sentence and commit him to a mental institution.

Nov. 20: Coe’s mother, Ruth Coe, is arrested on charges of criminal solicitation for murder involving an alleged plan to have a hit man kill the judge and the prosecutor.


Jan. 8: Ruth Coe pleads innocent before Snohomish County Judge Robert Bibb. Meanwhile, Kevin Coe’s lawyers appeal his case.

May 28: Bibb, who heard Ruth Coe’s non-jury trial, convicts her. She serves several months in jail before being granted work-release.


June 13: Kevin Coe’s case is argued before the state Supreme Court.


June 7: The Supreme Court overturns four first-degree rape convictions, in part because three of the four rape victims were hypnotized before identifying Coe as the rapist.

Oct. 1: Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Donohue grants defense motion to hold Coe’s second trial in Seattle because of intense publicity in Spokane.

Dec. 26: King County Superior Court Judge Patricia Aitken rules the hypnotized victims can testify against Coe.


Jan. 7: Coe’s second trial begins in Seattle.

Feb. 12: Coe is found guilty of three counts of first-degree rape. The jury cannot reach a verdict on the fourth rape count.


March 3: Coe’s lawyers file an appeal brief with the state Supreme Court citing police hypnosis of witnesses as the cornerstone of the appeal.


Jan. 27: During oral arguments before the Supreme Court over Coe’s appeal, Chief Justice Vernon Pearson calls hypnosis “witness tampering of the worst kind.”


Jan. 28: The Supreme Court reverses two convictions and upholds a third. Hypnosis is cited in the two reversals. The decision could mean Coe is eligible for parole in less than four years, but he never appears for parole hearings.


Aug. 30: The state attorney general files a petition to have Coe civilly committed as a sexual predator. The filing blocks Coe’s scheduled Sept. 8 release from the Walla Walla State Penitentiary.


Oct. 16: After a monthlong trial, a Spokane County jury declares Coe a sexually violent predator, a designation that gives the government the right to hold him indefinitely at a special confinement center in Western Washington.

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