A man convicted of a series of rapes and home invasions in Pullman nearly two decades ago was sentenced to life in prison Friday in Whitman County Superior Court.
Kenneth Downing, 47, of Elk, was convicted of four counts of rape in the first degree and one count of assault in the second degree with sexual motivation for his crimes committed in downtown Pullman during the fall of 2003 and spring of 2004. Superior Court Judge Gary Libey sentenced Downing to life in prison, with a minimum of 23 years behind bars. Downing will not be eligible for parole until 2046.
Downing initially faced four counts of first-degree rape, three counts of second-degree assault, three counts of unlawful imprisonment, two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of indecent liberties. He pleaded guilty to the charges he was convicted of as part of a plea deal offered with support of the three victims, who all made statements anonymously via Zoom during the sentencing hearing Friday.
The first incident occurred in November 2003 when Downing broke into a 23-year-old WSU student’s home in downtown Pullman and raped her at gunpoint multiple times. Downing had been working a construction job in the area and was staying at a nearby hotel when he noticed the victim days earlier, according to court documents.