Doctor denies David had MS


Herald Writer

It was traumatic injuries to the brain, not a progressive disease such as multiple sclerosis, that put Linda David in a wheelchair, slurred her speech and robbed her of her eyesight, one of the region’s top neurologists testified Tuesday.

Dr. Craig H. Smith, director of the regional Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, told a Snohomish County jury Linda David has a "shrunken brain," and that the medical evidence shows she likely received repeated traumatic injuries, starting as early as the late 1970s.

But the doctor was not allowed to testify about how he believed Linda David was hurt or whether he believed the trauma was somehow intentionally inflicted.

Smith testified as a prosecution witness in the second-degree assault trial of Victor David, 60, of Marysville. He’s charged with hiding his wife, Linda David, 52, away on a filthy sailboat where he allegedly battered her for years at waterfront locations from Tacoma to Everett.

Victor David was paid about $500 a month by the state Department of Social and Health Services to provide in-home care and chore services to his wife. He claimed she suffered from multiple sclerosis, a neurological condition in which the body’s immune system repeatedly attacks parts of the central nervous system, causing progressive damage.

But Smith said a thorough review of medical reports dating back to 1979 show no evidence that Linda David had ever been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, although some doctors included it as a possible explanation for some of her symptoms.

Moreover, he showed jurors brain scans of Linda David and a woman of similar age who has been diagnosed with MS. The woman with MS had distinct dots in her brain, which looked like bullet holes, which Smith explained were places where inflammation had left permanent damage.

Linda David’s brain, by contrast, had none of the dot-shaped damage.

"What I’m showing you now is somebody who has no evidence of MS," Smith testified. Instead, he said the scan showed somebody with "a shrunken brain that has been traumatized and beaten around."

That prompted an angry objection from Victor David’s attorney, Bryan Hershman of Tacoma. Twice on Tuesday he asked Judge Thomas Wynne to declare a mistrial, in part because of an earlier ruling in the day restricting Smith’s testimony regarding trauma.

Wynne had forbidden the doctor from discussing his opinions about how Linda David received the trauma he found. The judge’s ruling came after prosecutors failed to provide Hershman with sufficient documentation about Smith’s anticipated testimony.

Wynne declined to grant a mistrial, but he did instruct jurors to ignore the doctor’s comment about the cause of Linda David’s trauma.

The only exception the judge allowed was when Smith testified about hemorrhages found in Linda David’s eyes after she was removed from the sailboat in 1997. Jurors on Tuesday heard Smith and another doctor say that the injuries were only months old and were consistent with those seen when somebody has been punched in the eye.

Jurors have heard several witnesses describe how Linda David was emaciated, barely able to move and covered with filth and scars when she was removed from the sailboat. She testified Monday that her husband hit her and pushed her down, but that she still loved him.

The trial is expected to last into next week.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

A big head Buddha turns to the crowd during a celebration of the Lunar New Year on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in downtown Edmonds, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lunar New Year celebrates the Year of the Rabbit

A celebration in Edmonds ushered in the Lunar New Year.

Rep. Kim Schrier speaks with Regional Manager Susan Rushing about a room designated for serving homeless veterans during a visit to the new VA Puget Sound Health Care System Everett Clinic on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New VA clinic in Everett already has 5,300 patients

U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier toured the new center Friday, where veterans can get primary care and a growing list of specialty services close to home.

A white lane line juts out of place along I-5 northbound through Everett on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Wonky I-5 lane striping in Everett to get temporary refresh

During weekend work, contractor crews are slated to try to repaint northbound temporary lane striping past 41st Street.

Senator Patty Murray listens to students share their experiences with financial aid during a roundtable meeting to discuss access to higher education and Pell Grant increases Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett college students press Murray to boost financial aid funding

In a sitdown with the senator, they shared how Pell grants and other aid made it possible for them to attend college.

Most Read