David jurors can’t agree

Majority of panel was leaning toward acquittal

By SCOTT NORTH and JIM HALEY

Herald Writers

Victor David probably abused his wife, but Snohomish County prosecutors did not prove that he committed felony assault, jurors said Thursday.

A mistrial was declared in David’s case after jurors said they were unable to unanimously agree on a verdict.

Indeed, the final vote showed a majority were leaning toward acquittal.

There was no verdict because "we just couldn’t get there with what we had to work with," juror Kami Cramer said.

Even so, there is a high likelihood prosecutors will try David, 60, of Marysville, again on a second-degree assault charge, said Jim Townsend, the county’s chief criminal deputy prosecutor.

"What they (jurors) told us is they all felt there was some abuse going on," but many of the jurors felt there was insufficient evidence to prove David had assaulted his wife during the period covered by the charge, deputy prosecutor Kathy Patterson said.

"As disappointing as the verdict may be, it amply demonstrates what we’ve said all along: This is a difficult case," Townsend said.

It was hard to gauge David’s reaction to the hung jury. He was muttering when he was brought into court and shouted repeatedly that he wanted to talk to a Public Broadcasting System news show as he was led back to his jail cell.

"I want to talk to Frontline TV. I want to talk to Frontline TV 9," David said.

David’s attorney, Bryan Hershman of Tacoma, said he considered the outcome a victory, but he is uncertain whether he will represent his client for the second trial. To date, his fees have been paid by Victor David’s sister.

"I don’t like hung juries, but I felt like such an underdog," Hershman said. "I’ve never tried a case like this before."

He said prosecutors had offered David a plea agreement as the deliberations dragged on, but the defendant rejected that option.

"I’ve never had a client who is so adamant" he is innocent, Hershman said.

A second trial has been scheduled for Dec. 11, but it seems unlikely that it will occur on that date. Judge Thomas Wynne said extensive news coverage may make it difficult to find unbiased jurors in Snohomish County, and the court may have to look elsewhere. "We’ll cross that bridge later," he said.

Prosecutors had charged that the defendant spent years beating his wife, Linda David, 52, while hiding her away on a filthy sailboat they shared with up to seven German shepherd dogs, some cats, and at one point even a wild goose.

The state had paid Victor David to provide chore services and in-home care for his wife. Linda David was covered with scars, had brain damage and was nearly blind when a state social worker checked on her welfare in 1997, when the sailboat was docked at an Everett marina.

Jurors listened to three weeks of testimony. Linda David testified. So did doctors, who said her injuries most likely were the result of intentional trauma, not accident or illness, as the defense maintained.

But some jurors said prosecutors failed to show that Victor David was responsible for his wife’s injuries, especially during the period covered by the charge, from September 1993 to January 1997.

"There was not much evidence (of abuse) during that period," said juror Cramer, who was picked to lead the deliberations. "We went back and made a whole timeline to look at all our notes and try to put all the (witnesses) together. It was difficult."

Although the case tugged at the emotions, jurors took seriously their oath and the legal instructions they were given, Cramer said.

Jurors began deliberating Monday and by late Wednesday were divided 6-6. Their last vote Thursday was 7-5 to acquit.

Juror John Nichols was one of the five who voted for conviction. He said the evidence, including the trauma Linda David received, swayed him. However, he didn’t think her testimony was important because it was hard to understand.

Some jurors were moved by Linda David; others felt her testimony wasn’t important because it was confused. A few believe Linda David may have been manipulated, juror Nathan Broadbent said.

"The way (the prosecution) handled her in the nursing home," Broadbent said, "it seemed to indicate to some of the jurors that she was being coached; in fact, being spoon-fed things to make her remember things that really didn’t happen."

Some jurors said they were troubled that there were no witnesses to the assaults.

That couldn’t be helped, Townsend said.

"The only direct witness to the assaults is severely brain damaged," and that’s Linda David, he said.

A woman who regularly deals with domestic violence issues said she was surprised and saddened by the lack of a verdict.

"I think the case is a tragedy," said Rebecca Roby, regional director of the Pathways for Women YWCA.

She was not surprised that jurors had trouble with the evidence during the period covered by the statute of limitations. She sees women every day who don’t report abuse until after it’s too late for authorities to do anything about it.

"The emotional scars take a lot longer to heal than a bruise," Roby said.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

Lynnwood
Suspected DUI crash injures trooper on I-5 north in Lynnwood

WSP spokesperson said two suspected impaired drivers have crashed into a state trooper in the past 24 hours.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

People hang up hearts with messages about saving the Clark Park gazebo during a “heart bomb” event hosted by Historic Everett on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Future of historic Clark Park gazebo now in hands of City Council

On June 5, the Everett council is set to decide whether to fund removal of the gazebo. It could be stored elsewhere.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commercial vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.