OLYMPIA — It’s looking increasingly likely that Pacific County’s most notorious sex offender will die in prison.
On Sept. 5, the Supreme Court of Washington declined to hear an appeal from John Keone Lopaka Aylward, 48, formerly of Ocean Park, effectively stripping him of his last real chance to appeal his 100-year prison sentence.
Two years ago, Aylward was convicted of 18 felonies, including rape of a child, dealing in child pornography and sexual exploitation of a minor. He was sent to the Washington State Penitentiary to serve what effectively amounted to a life-sentence.
“Certainly all [sex-abuse cases] are awful, tragic, but this is absolutely the most egregious case anyone involved can recall,” Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain said on Sept. 5.
Aylward asked the state Court of Appeals to review his case, arguing that police used an overly broad warrant during a search that turned up a massive collection of child pornography. He also claimed the court had been too hard on him during the sentencing phase of his trial, but the appeals judges found no legal problems with the case. They upheld his sentence, leading Aylward to appeal to the Supreme Court, which is Washington’s highest court.
In theory, Aylward, who repeatedly abused a seven-year-old girl, could try to appeal his case in federal court. However, the evidence against him is strong, and two courts have now confirmed that the strategies used to investigate, prosecute and sentence Aylward were sound. McClain said Aylward would be very unlikely to convince federal judges to review his case, calling it “the most remote of possibilities.”