RICHLAND — A former apartment complex maintenance worker remains behind bars on $250,000 bail for allegedly attacking a Richland woman in her apartment last year.
Cody Joseph Kloepper, 32, made his first appearance Monday in Benton County Superior Court, where he was ordered held on suspicion of first-degree rape.
Kloepper was arrested by Richland police Friday for the home-invasion assault and rape that took place Dec. 5 at The Villas at Meadow Springs, 250 Gage Blvd.
"This is a very, very egregious offense involving an assault," Deputy Prosecutor Art Bieker told Judge Bruce Spanner.
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Bieker asked for bail to remain at $250,000, saying the court documents detailed how the victim was knocked unconscious and threatened that she would be killed if she told police.
Spanner said he reviewed the information when he signed Kloepper's arrest warrant last week and asked Kloepper if he'd like to argue for a reduced bail.
"I'd like to wait for my attorney for a bail reduction hearing," Kloepper said after defense attorney Dan Arnold was appointed to represent him.
Kloepper will return to court Thursday to enter a plea.
Police and prosecutors allege Kloepper stayed overnight in a vacant unit at the apartment complex the night the woman was attacked.
She told police she heard someone in her apartment around 4 a.m. even though she believed she had locked her door. As a maintenance worker, Kloepper would have had keys to her apartment, court documents said.
The woman said someone came up behind her in the kitchen, hit her on the head with a metal bar and then sexually assaulted her.
She received extensive injuries, including a broken right arm, broken left wrist and blunt force trauma to her head.
When she called 911, she said her attacker looked like one of the apartment maintenance workers and later told police "... My first immediate thought was it's Cody, cause he was about ... you know that tall like that ..."
She also said her attacker had long hair, and later identified another man as her attacker after picking him out from a photo lineup showing 23 men.
Kloepper's picture was among those shown to the victim, but he had cut his hair short by the time police talked to him later that afternoon.
The initial suspect, a 36-year-old Richland man, was charged in the attack but the charges were dropped in July after DNA evidence -- the tip of a bloody glove -- found at the crime scene excluded him as a suspect.
Kloepper's DNA, however, could not be excluded as a match, documents said.
"It doesn't happen a whole lot," Richland police Capt. Jeff Taylor said about DNA clearing a suspect. "This is probably the first one I've experienced that it's worked out in this manner. We don't have many cases where we've done DNA analysis."
Taylor said they didn't arrest Kloepper right after they received the DNA information because they wanted to have a thorough investigation with all the facts instead of depending on just that one piece of evidence.
Once the DNA results excluded their suspect, detectives had to go back and complete the same investigation they would have done had Kloepper been their suspect in the first case, he said.