Greenbank man pleads to kidnapping, rape

Greenbank resident George Downey pleads guilty in court Monday to kidnapping and rape charges. His attorney, Terry Smith, stands next to Downey. - --
Greenbank resident George Downey pleads guilty in court Monday to kidnapping and rape charges. His attorney, Terry Smith, stands next to Downey.
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A 23-year-old Greenbank man who kidnapped and raped his estranged girlfriend will likely be going away for more than 16 years.

George Downey was dressed in jail orange and wearing his usual odd grin in  Island County Superior Court Monday.

As part of a plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to first-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping, residential burglary, second-degree burglary, felony violation of a court order and a gross misdemeanor violation of a court order.

Both the prosecution and defense will recommend an indeterminate sentence of up to life, with a minimum of 16 years and four months in prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12.

Deputy Prosecutor David Carman told the judge that the amended charges take into account all the facts of the case and that the victims are aware of the plea bargain.

Downey abducted his estranged girlfriend and their 4-year-old boy from a home on East Harbor Road near Freeland March 16. After driving them to a different location, he broke into a vacant home and raped the woman inside.

After the rape, he continued driving north with the woman and child in his vehicle. He threatened to kill himself and the victims by driving off Deception Pass Bridge and later threatened to drive off the Coupeville Wharf.

About an hour after the abduction, deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office pulled over Downey’s Jeep on Highway 20 near Coupeville, saving the woman and child. Sheriff Mark Brown said the office was in the process of issuing an AMBER Alert — a child abduction broadcast — at the time of the arrest.

The victim had obtained a domestic violence protection order about a month before the kidnapping to protect herself and her son from Downey. The woman told the judge about numerous incidents of violence and threats. She claimed he threatened to kill “all three” of them with his rifles. In an incident last October, Downey beat her, repeatedly raped her and choked her, the woman wrote in her petition for the protection order.

Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill approved a temporary order for protection on Feb. 15, followed by a permanent order on Feb. 29.


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