California man gets 140 years for rapes lawyer blamed on twin brother

A Highland man who violently sexually assaulted a girl and a woman more than two decades ago in South Orange County — crimes his attorney blamed on his twin brother — was sentenced on Friday, Jan. 26, to 140 years to life in prison.

An Orange County Superior Court jury early last year found Kevin Konther guilty of raping a 9-year-old girl in Lake Forest in 1995 and a 32-year-old woman in Mission Viejo in 1998 as well as committing lewd acts on a girlfriend’s pre-teen daughter at the couple’s homes in Huntington Beach and Highland.

While handing down the longest possible sentence, Judge Richard M. King described Konther, now a 58-year-old Highland resident, as “a sexual carnivore.” Both rape victims were attacked in public, pulled by Konther into secluded areas.

“This is like a cat, a lion, a cheetah looking for prey,” King said. “Vultures don’t do this to their young, rats don’t do this.”

Deputy District Attorney Juliet Oliver described Konther as a “calculated” rapist who “thought through every single act. … The defendant committed heinous acts upon these women in a serial manner. This is a man who deserve no leniency.”

Konther won’t be eligible for parole until serving the 140 years.

One victim testified that a man came up to her while she was walking home from a store, put his hand over her mouth, told her he had a knife and pulled her down an embankment into Serrano Creek Park in Lake Forest. She pleaded that he not kill her as he forced her to take off her clothes and raped her. She told the rapist she was only nine and he laughed.

Three year’s later, a 32-year-old woman running along a secluded bike trial in Mission Viejo was attacked, dragged down an embankment and raped.

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Investigators quickly determined through DNA that the same man committed both rapes, but at the time were unable to identify a suspect. The case was re-opened in 2018, when Orange County sheriff’s investigators worked with the FBI’s Genealogy Team to use cutting-edge familial DNA searches.

That led investigators to Konther and his brother who, because they are twins, share DNA. Both were taken into custody and secretly recorded while sitting in a police vehicle and waiting to be booked into jail.

Prosecutors argued the recorded conversation between the brothers essentially amounted to a confession by Kevin Konther, who repeatedly apologized to his angry and confused brother. At one point, Kevin Konther told his brother, “I’m a criminal in my past. I have serious issues. Now I’ve got to pay for it, and I don’t want to.”

He talked about a “chemical imbalance in my brain,” telling his brother, “I’ve been fighting that demon for a long time. I just hate women, that’s my problem.”

Deputy Public Defender Jessica Ann Sweeny argued during the trial that Konther had decided to take the blame for crimes committed by his brother. Konther could have heard details of the sexual assaults from investigators and may have been simply repeating those details, knowing he was being recorded, the defense attorney added.

Investigators, after identifying Kevin Konther as a suspect, also learned of accusations made against him by a girlfriend’s daughter. She said Konther would enter her room naked while she was pretending to sleep and would stand uncomfortably close to her, sometimes pulling down her pants and underwear.

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