CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shocking twist to murder, rape

Bilde Hamilton County law enforcement officials knew that David Steffen killed 19-year-old Karen Range in 1982 but he insisted for 26 years he never raped the teen. 

Prosecutors won murder and rape convictions against Steffen to send him to death row – the first Hamilton County inmate to receive a death sentence after it was reinstated in Oh File photos from 1983 Now, authorities have the man they believe responsible for the sexual attack.
A grand jury indicated a former Hamilton County Coroner Office's employee Monday for having sex with the teen’s body in the morgue.

Kenneth Douglas, 55, of Westwood, was arrested Friday for violating his probation for drug trafficking and his DNA matched the DNA in the girl’s body.

“There are no words to describe the disgust everyone associated with the case feels,” Deters said Monday as he outlined the twists in the bizarre case that dates back a quarter century.

From 1976-1992, Douglas was an attendant at the Hamilton County morgue.

That’s where he is accused of having sex with Range’s unwashed body after it had been stored in the morgue cooler for about four hours.

“Now we know what happened. As horrific as it is, now we know,” Deters said Monday.

Deters said it would be unethical for him to reveal if Douglas confessed but he admitted Douglas has spoken to authorities.

“This was a scenario no one imagined in this office,” Deters said. “It was so bizarre that no one could even comprehend it. I can’t explain this at all.”

Deters expects Douglas to be charged with violating other corpses based on “overwhelming evidence” from those discussions with the suspect.

“Our initial indication is it’s less than five (victims) but we don’t know,” Deters said.
Because of the allegation against Douglas – and the hint of more charges to come – Deters said his office and the Coroner’s office are “obligated” to review all of the cases Douglas was involved in during his 16 years with the Coroner’s office. [Mark Godsey]

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