Detectives needed DNA from California to identify rapist

by: Essex Porter Updated:


Kirkland, Wash. - The man who raped an 80-year-old Kirkland woman will spend the next 22 years in prison, thanks to a DNA match. But detectives in Washington needed help from a California law to identify Moses Kelley.

Kelly pleaded guilty to raping a disabled woman in Bellingham and an 80-year-old woman in Kirkland. "She fought like I've never seen another victim fight in order to preserve her safety and her security," said prosecutor Emily Petersen. "But Mr. Kelly was able to overpower her."

A year ago, detectives didn't know who attacked the two women, didn't know it was the same rapist. But they were able to use DNA to connect Kelly to the crimes.

On Friday, Judge Mariane Spearman sentenced him to 22-and-a-half years in prison. "Mr. Kelly, why would you attack an 80-year-old woman?" Judge Spearman asked. "An apology to the families?" Kelly replied, his voice barely audible. "You can't explain that to me?" Spearman asked.  "No, your honor," Kelly said.

But this case could not have been solved using DNA if Kelly had never been arrested in California. Under California law, he had to give a DNA sample when he was arrested in that state years ago – even though he was never convicted of a crime there. In Washington State, suspects can withhold their DNA unless they are convicted. "There's been privacy concerns," said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. "I don't know what privacy you have when you are under arrest, we take your pictures, we take your fingerprints DNA is just another way to identify somebody."

Prosecutors will bring the Kelly case to the attention of state lawmakers when they convene again next year, in hopes of persuading them to allow DNA to be collected at the time of arrest.