Pullman serial rapist sentenced to life in prison

PULLMAN, Wash. — A serial rapist who committed crimes across Pullman nearly 20 years ago will spend his life in prison.

Kenneth Downing was arrested at a Spokane job site earlier this year. He pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree rape and one count of second-degree assault with sexual motivation in July.

Downing committed his crimes between 2003 and 2004. In two separate cases, he broke into homes near the Washington State University campus, held women at gunpoint and raped them.

DNA was collected from both scenes and submitted for testing.

Downing was ultimately identified as the man responsible through genetic genealogy. DNA evidence from the crime scenes matched other DNA from Downing’s family tree.

A judge said Friday that Downing will be eligible for parole after 23.5 years.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Man pleads guilty in Pullman cold case rapes

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

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