Standing at the bench with Snohomish County Public Defender Laura Martin just moments before Judge David A. Kurtz arrives and sentences Dean Connors to eight and a half years in prison, the convicted rapist glances past one of two Snohomish County Corrections officers guarding him Monday at Snohomish County Superior Court. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Standing at the bench with Snohomish County Public Defender Laura Martin just moments before Judge David A. Kurtz arrives and sentences Dean Connors to eight and a half years in prison, the convicted rapist glances past one of two Snohomish County Corrections officers guarding him Monday at Snohomish County Superior Court. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

I.D.’d earlier by genetic evidence, man sentenced for rape

EVERETT — He was known only as “Individual A.”

He raped a woman in an Everett park in May 2014, called her a whore and threatened to kill her if she reported the attack. He held a knife to her throat and made her say she deserved what she was getting.

Everett officers found the woman on the ground, crying. Her attacker had sprayed her in the face and genitals with mace. She was taken to a local hospital, where forensic nurses carefully collected genetic evidence.

Scientists at the Washington State Patrol crime lab were able to obtain a male DNA profile from the evidence collected at the hospital in 2014. The profile didn’t match any in a federal database, and he was labeled “Individual A.”

The victim called police more than once to report seeing the suspect in different vehicles. She provided dispatchers with partial license plate numbers but the case stalled.

Cops at the time didn’t know that the same man, Dean Connors, was convicted three months later of exposing himself to two young women. The misdemeanor conviction did not require Connors to submit a DNA sample.

But he struck again two years later. A woman was sexually assaulted at knifepoint in April 2016 near Clearview. The attacker climbed on top of the woman, wrapped his hands around her throat and raped her. She was taken to a hospital, where genetic evidence was collected. Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives submitted the evidence to the crime lab.

State Patrol scientists reported in August that the DNA profile in that case matched the profile in Everett’s case. Detectives pieced together information based on the victims’ statements and identified Connors as “Individual A.”

Connors was sentenced Monday to 81⁄2 years in prison for the 2014 rape in Everett and last year’s attack south of Snohomish. He had pleaded guilty last month to one count of second-degree rape. Detectives believe he is responsible for other rapes.

“He admitted to having been with an estimated ten prostitutes and about half of the interactions had gone overboard,” Everett police detective Suzanne Eviston wrote in Connors’ arrest report. “Dean admitted that he gets sexual gratification from the violence or ‘rough sex.’ ”

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed not to charge Connors with other crimes connected to the May 2014 and April 2016 attacks. They also agreed not to charge him for a September 2014 incident involving a third victim.

Connors, 25, told the judge Monday that he is remorseful. He did not apologize to the women, however.

He said he wasn’t going to consider his time in prison as punishment, but as “an opportunity to look at my own life.” Connors went on to explain that he’d been born prematurely and been in a car accident when he was 15. It wasn’t clear from his comments if he was offering that information as an explanation for his violent crimes.

He said he wanted to work on “becoming a socially acceptable person.”

Superior Court Judge David Kurtz said it is commendable that Connors wants to better himself and has support from his family.

Nevertheless, his crimes cannot be excused, the judge said. “Significant punishment is appropriate,” Kurtz said.

He sentenced Connors to the maximum allowed under state guidelines. Once he serves his time Connors will have to convince the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board that he is safe to be released.

The Arlington man will be required to register as a sex offender. He also will be under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections for the rest of his life.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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