Predator's commitment upheld on appeal

Justin J. Mackey was ordered into indefinite lockup after a June 2008 civil trial.

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WALLA WALLA -- A jury's determination that a man convicted of sex crimes in Walla Walla County is a sexually violent predator was upheld last week by the state Court of Appeals.

Justin J. Mackey was ordered to be locked up indefinitely following his June 2008 civil commitment trial in Walla Walla County Superior Court. A psychologist testified that Mackey suffers from mental disorders and a personality disorder making him likely to commit acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility.

He is being held at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island "for control, care and treatment" until his condition changes.

Mackey appealed the jury's finding, claiming the evidence failed to show he is likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence. But a three-judge panel of the Spokane-based appeals court issued an opinion Tuesday finding "ample support for the jury's finding that Mr. Mackey is a SVP."

Mackey, now 29, pleaded guilty in 2002 to third-degree child molestation for fondling a 14-year-old boy and was sentenced to 60 months in prison. He was scheduled to be released in early 2007, but the state Attorney General's Office filed the civil commitment petition against him.

Mackey's history of committing sex crimes dates back to when he was 12 and frequently had sexual intercourse with a 5-year-old girl. He was arrested in early 1993, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree rape of a child, and was sentenced to 21-28 weeks in a state juvenile facility on each count.

Then, while on community supervision in Yakima in 1996, Mackey communicated with a 15-year-old boy for immoral purposes and was sentenced to 13 weeks of confinement.

Several civil commitment petitions have been filed in Walla Walla County since the law allowing indefinite confinement of sex predators went into effect in 1990.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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