A jury took less than three hours to find a former Kennewick man guilty of molesting and raping a girl between 1998 and 2003.
The convictions for Emanuel Hubbart come 13 years after he thought the case was over because the victim couldn’t be found to testify at the original trial.
The now-adult woman was left wondering whatever happened to Hubbart and why she never went to court to testify.
Now, because she asked Kennewick police in 2015 about the status of the case and also because state law was amended, Hubbart is facing a maximum sentence of life behind bars for five sex crimes.
Never miss a local story.
A state board will determine his ultimate release after he serves the mandatory minimum term of 20 to 26 1/2 years in prison, according to Benton County Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor.
Hubbart, 49, is being held without bail until his Feb. 23 sentencing in Benton County Superior Court.
The jury convicted him of one count each of first-, second- and third-degree child rape, and first- and third-degree child molestation.
“I am really happy that the jury made those decisions,” Bloor said. Deputy Prosecutor Diana Ruff was his co-counsel in trial. “I think it was a fair trial and a just verdict, and I hope the victim is able to view this as a small victory.”
I think it was a fair trial and a just verdict, and I hope the victim is able to view this as a small victory.
Deputy Prosecutor Diana Ruff
Hubbart did not testify at his trial. The defense argued that the victim made up the story about being sexually assaulted in order to get Hubbart out of her life.
The victim was a young teen in summer 2003 when she disclosed that Hubbart had been raping her, and that she saved some of the DNA evidence and hid it until Hubbart was arrested in another case.
The evidence was tested by a forensic scientist at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, who found the DNA profile matched Hubbart, court documents said.
He was charged in 2003 with child rape, but investigators could not find the girl and her family a year later when it was time for the trial.
The charge was dismissed in a way that would allow it to be refiled if the victim returned or new evidence came to light.
Hubbart reportedly moved out of Washington in about 2005.
Ten years later, the victim contacted police about her case, saying she would testify if prosecutors charged Hubbart again.
At the time of the original charge, the law required prosecutors to file sex charges by a victim’s 18th birthday, or seven years after the alleged crime, whichever was later.
The state Legislature amended the law in 2006 and again in 2009, giving prosecutors until the victim’s 28th birthday to file.
That extension in the statute of limitations allowed Bloor to charge Hubbart in December 2015.
Hubbart was picked up on a nationwide arrest warrant while reportedly passing through Oklahoma and extradited to Washington for the case.