Kenneth Downing pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree rape and one count of assault in the second degree on Friday in a nearly two-decade-old case from Pullman.
The plea deal was offered with support of the victims, the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office said in a release. Downing, of Elk, faces 18 years to life in prison.
The survivors’ “remarkable courage and fortitude made this outcome possible,” Chief Prosecuting Attorney Dan LeBeau said in a statement. “I am grateful for their support of this resolution which will spare them having to recount their assaults at trial. I will argue for the maximum penalty allowed by law under his guilty plea.”
In the first incident, a woman reported to the Pullman Police Department in November 2003 that she was raped at gunpoint in her home. A few months later, in March 2004, two women reported that one of them was raped and another tied up by a man with a gun who was waiting for them when they arrived home one morning.
Police were able to locate DNA evidence from the incidents but not a suspect.
Investigators used new genetic technology to link Downing to the rapes and home invasions.
He was arrested in March at a construction job in Spokane.