Ex-cellmate says David envisions a video game


Herald Writer

A man who is accused of abusing his wife for years on a filthy sailboat apparently thinks his case might make an interesting video game.

Or maybe grist for a ballad by rocker Bruce Springsteen.

Victor David, 60, has spent his time in the Snohomish County Jail in Everett allegedly hatching elaborate plans to turn his legal troubles into entertainment, according to court papers.

The evidence comes from a former David cellmate, plus a handwritten motion that David filed last week, describing plans for a "true-to-life, action-packed object lesson video game" based on his case.

David’s video game apparently involves his trying to "rescue" his wife, Linda David, 52, from a nursing home while avoiding police and prosecutors, according to court papers.

Deputy prosecutor Kathleen Patterson on Tuesday told Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne she is concerned David’s notions about the case may lead to problems if, as expected, he is soon freed on $20,000 bail.

She provided the judge with an Everett police report about an interview with a former David cellmate. In addition to describing David’s video game idea, the man said David believes people have bugged his cell, and that his wife is being beaten in the nursing home where she now lives.

The informant, who was not identified in court papers, said that David at one point offered money for help getting his wife out of the nursing home. Police also reported that David gave the man a handwritten note listing numerous people he wanted the former cellmate to contact on his behalf, including Springsteen.

David apparently believes Springsteen would be interested in recording a song about his case, the informant told police.

Wynne said he is not surprised David harbors unusual ideas and "Don Quixote-like" notions.

"It’s not exactly new news that Mr. David has mental health issues," the judge said. He added that while David may have odd ideas, there is no reason to believe he is not mentally competent at this time to assist in his defense.

David’s attorney, Bryan Hershman of Tacoma, told the judge not to place much stock in a jailhouse informant’s tip. Hershman said he’s confident his client does not pose a risk to his wife or anybody else.

The judge on Tuesday issued additional court orders barring David from attempting in any way to contact his wife or her court-appointed guardians.

Wynne last week set April 2 as the date David will again go on trial for allegedly abusing his wife. The jury likely will be picked from a county somewhere in Eastern Washington.

David’s first trial, which lasted about three weeks, ended in a mistrial Oct. 19 when jurors were unable to agree whether he committed second-degree assault. Jurors split 7-5, with the majority voting to acquit.

As part of last week’s hearing, the judge agreed to the concept of reducing David’s bail from $150,000 cash to $20,000 bond, providing David give the court a verified address somewhere in or near Snohomish County.

The judge said his ruling was based in part on the reality that David already has been locked up since his May 1999 arrest, and has already been behind bars far longer than the standard punishment he would receive if convicted of assaulting his wife.

Prosecutors have said, however, that they will seek up to 10 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law.

David subjected his wife to beatings that left her blind and brain-damaged, prosecutors allege. At the same time, he was collecting $500 a month from the state as her caregiver.

The defense countered that many of Linda David’s injuries could be explained by accidents.

Linda David was found in 1997 on a 30-foot sailboat moored near Everett. She was jammed into the bow compartment and covered with vomit and feces from the seven German shepherds that also lived aboard. Doctors said she was brain-damaged to the point of immobility, and she had numerous untreated fractures of her arms, legs and fingers. Her face remains disfigured by scar tissue, and she uses a wheelchair.

David last week filed a handwritten motion to have his case dismissed, alleging Patterson and other prosecutors have made a mockery of justice.

"If anyone should ever lovingly lift the blindfold from the eyes of the guardian angel gallantly holding the scales of justice, they would see that she is indeed crying, and so is my most beloved wife," he wrote.

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