Victor David retrial date set


Herald Writer

A new trial date has been set for Victor David, the man accused of abusing his wife for years on a filthy sailboat while the state paid him to be her caretaker.

But it is not yet clear where jurors will be found to hear the case.

Snohomish County Superior Judge Thomas Wynne on Thursday set April 2 as the date David, 60, will again go on trial for allegedly abusing his wife, Linda David, 52.

David’s first trial, which lasted roughly three weeks, ended in a mistrial Oct. 19 when jurors were unable to agree whether he committed second-degree assault.

Wynne also directed prosecutors to alert Linda David’s guardians that Victor David may soon be getting out of jail.

The judge cautioned that the April plan assumes he’ll be able to find a jury from elsewhere in the state, mostly likely from Eastern Washington. The judge said intense publicity of the first trial makes it necessary to find jurors in some other county, and then bring them to Snohomish County to participate in David’s second trial.

That’s expected to cost up to $55,000, Wynne said.

The judge’s decision to put off the second trial until April came over David’s objections. He wanted a February trial. But David’s attorney, Bryan Hershman of Tacoma, told the judge he needed more time to prepare his client’s defense.

David has been jailed in lieu of $150,000 since his arrest in May 1999. Wynne said he’ll likely sign an order next week allowing David to be released on $20,000 bond.

The judge said he ordered the high bail early in the case, when there were questions about Victor David’s mental stability and his wife’s safety.

Linda David, who has been living in a south Snohomish County nursing home, now has court-appointed guardians who oversee a multimillion-dollar trust fund that was set up to settle a lawsuit brought on her behalf against state social workers, Wynne said. The guardians should be able to take steps that should ensure Linda David’s safety if her husband is freed on bail, he said.

Jurors in Victor David’s first trial split 7-5 on whether he assaulted his wife. Seven jurors voted for acquittal and five voted to convict.

Prosecutors alleged David subjected his wife to beatings that left her blind and brain-damaged. 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.

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