David jury hears about wife’s 1997 condition


Herald Writer

A Snohomish County jury heard Monday about the grim condition of Linda David when she was pulled in January 1997 from a sailboat moored in an Everett slough.

The woman, now 52 and living in a nursing home, was found in a bunk in the bow of the bedraggled vessel she shared with her husband, Victor David, 60, and their seven German shepherds.

Linda David was so weak she could barely move. She was covered in filth but insistent that she was fine and did not need help, Everett Battalion Chief Roger Westlund testified.

"Her clothes were very foul, from dog hair, food, fecal matter," Westlund said. Firefighters, police and state social workers determined the woman needed medical attention and took her to an Everett hospital.

That happened over Victor David’s objections, Westlund said.

Victor David of Marysville went on trial last week, charged with second-degree assault.

Prosecutors allege Victor David hid the woman away for years, battering her repeatedly. Linda David’s face is scarred, her ears cauliflowered, her arms contorted by untreated fractures and her eyes rendered virtually blind.

David’s attorney, Bryan Hershman of Tacoma, told jurors last week that many of those injuries can be explained by Linda David’s lifelong medical problems, which include an inability to protect herself when falling.

Trial began Thursday. There was no testimony Friday because of scheduling conflicts, and Monday’s court action repeatedly ground to a halt when jurors were sent from the courtroom so lawyers could battle over what evidence will be allowed.

Hershman made repeated objections to witnesses offering graphic testimony about the lack of cleanliness on the sailboat where Linda David was found.

David is charged with intentionally assaulting his wife, not neglecting her, and telling jurors about the dog feces and dirt is not relevant to the prosecution’s case, he argued.

Judge Thomas Wynne agreed, although he did allow some testimony about Linda David’s unkempt condition.

Wynne also blocked Hershman from presenting evidence that Linda David told an Everett police detective the day she was removed from the boat that her husband had not harmed her.

Deputy prosecutor Kathy Patterson argued that Hershman was trying to offer improper hearsay evidence. Linda David will be able to testify herself about whether she was abused on the boat, she said.

Detective Jimmy Phillips testified that Victor David was not cooperative with police the day his wife was removed from the boat and gave what he believed were suspicious answers about how his wife was injured, including a claim that she had hurt herself falling from a pickup in Pierce County.

Victor David also insisted he was the victim of a conspiracy involving state bureaucrats, Phillips testified.

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