By SCOTT NORTH
Victor David has been locked up since May 1999 after being charged with abusing his wife for years on a filthy sailboat.
A Snohomish County judge on Monday cleared the way for the man to again taste freedom.
Judge Thomas Wynne signed a court order lowering David’s bail to $20,000, down from $150,000. He also approved a plan for David to stay at a friend’s home in Granite Falls.
A relative of David’s has put up the bail money, and defense attorney Bryan Hershman asked Wynne to consider keeping David’s new address secret, reducing the chance that he’ll be tracked down by news media.
"I don’t want to put this gentleman in the situation where he is going to get run out of Dodge," Hershman said.
Wynne was unmoved, however. He said David’s privacy interests don’t trump the public nature of criminal cases.
David, 60, is awaiting an April 2 trial for allegedly abusing his wife, Linda David, 52. His 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.
The jury for David’s next trial likely will be chosen from somewhere in Eastern Washington at an estimated cost of up to $55,000.
Prosecutors allege 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.