KENNEWICK — Prosecutors are expected to ask a judge todayto sentence a former Richland apartment maintenance worker to a minimum of 24 1/2 years in prison for beating and raping a woman.
Cody Joseph Kloepper, 33, was convicted last month by a Benton County Superior Court jury in the December 2009 attack at The Villas at Meadows Springs.
The then-48-year-old woman repeatedly was hit in the head with a metal bar, then raped after Kloepper let himself into her fourth-floor apartment while she was sleeping.
She tried to fight off her attacker and suffered a shattered arm, broken wrist and needed 43 stitches in her head.
During the five-day trial, prosecutors said Kloepper used his master key to gain access to the lock box that held keys to all 286 apartments at the south Richland complex.
Officers said there was no forced entry into the apartment and the victim said her door was locked.
Kloepper took the stand and denied the attack, but the jury still found him guilty of first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and first-degree rape while using a deadly weapon.
He could spend the rest of his life in prison. When he is sentenced, Judge Carrie Runge will set a minimum term that Kloepper must serve. It will be up to the state's indeterminate sentencing review board to decide if he can be released after the minimum sentence is served.
Kloepper continues to maintain his innocence and told a state Department of Corrections official completing a presentence investigation that he planned to appeal his conviction, court documents said.
Community Corrections Officer David Duran wrote in his report that Kloepper said he "felt for the victim and hoped she received justice for what has happened to her but not at his expense," documents said.
Kloepper also said he didn't think it was right for the court to "take him away from his family for something he did not do."
Kloepper has two sons with his longtime girlfriend, whom he has been with for about 10 years.
Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor is expected to ask Runge to have Kloepper serve consecutive sentences for the assault and burglary.
In his sentencing memorandum, Bloor wrote that both are serious violent offenses and state law says sentences can be consecutive if they arose "from separate and distinct criminal conduct."
The high end of the sentencing range for first-degree rape is 121/2 years, and the top of the range for first-degree assault is 10 years.
Bloor said Kloepper should have to serve the time for the assault after he completes the rape sentence. Kloepper also has to serve a mandatory two years for having a deadly weapon, documents said.
The sentence for the burglary, which has a maximum of four years, would be served at the same time as the others.
The victim wrote a letter to Duran for his presentence investigation and said Kloepper should get the maximum time behind bars.
She said her family has gone through a traumatic ordeal that will affect them for the rest of her life. The woman lived alone at the time, but she moved into her parents' home and they tried to provide her with safety and security.
Her parents, who are 77 and 79, also became victims of the crime as they "watch over me and comfort me as we heal through this ordeal," she wrote.
"My mother is amazing and deserves better in life than to have her daughter attacked so brutally," the victim wrote. "My father has been distraught and sometimes overwhelmed by this incident and is coping in his own ways."
The woman said her arms and hands are slightly, yet permanently, disabled, and she still is ashamed and embarrassed at the story she has to recount when someone asks her about her hands.
"I am still not sure how to deal with the resulting anger, or how to best deal with my feelings of frustration that this so horribly hurt and traumatized my parents," the victim wrote.
She said Kloepper should take responsibility for the crimes he committed and the damage he inflicted on her and her family.
"My feeling currently is that he is not taking this responsibility seriously at this time. Therefore, the justice system can and will work for us now," she wrote. "It is our firm belief that no other human being should ever experience the pain and horror that Mr. Kloepper is so obviously able to inflict in one's lifetime."
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org