Wednesday, July 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Cold-case testimony continues with mistrial a concern

Lonnie J. Kerley, left, was was indicted Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, by a Solano County grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the 1996 death of Danna L. Dever, right, of Cordelia.

Lonnie J. Kerley, left, was was indicted Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, by a Solano County grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the 1996 death of Danna L. Dever, right, of Cordelia.

By
From page A3 | December 18, 2012 |

FAIRFIELD — A cold-case murder trial for a Fairfield man starting its eighth week of testimony in what was originally billed as a four-week trial is wrapping up against growing pressure to avert a possible mistrial.

Lonnie J. Kerley’s jury trial started in October. On Monday, another juror was lost to a family medical issue, leaving 12 jurors and no alternate jurors. With the court set to be closed after the end of this week until next year, there was growing concern that not finishing the trial this week would likely spur at least one more juror to jump ship, forcing a mistrial.

The defense case for Kerley may wrap up as early as Tuesday morning, but prosecutors intend to call at least five rebuttal witnesses.

Kerley is accused of killing Danna Dever, who lived with Kerley and their 9-year-old daughter at their home in Cordelia. He reported Dever missing to Fairfield police in August 1996, saying she  walked out the door six weeks earlier and had not returned.

Dever’s badly decomposed, naked body was discovered in the summer of 1996 by farm workers in a ditch south of Dixon, but was not identified by authorities until 2007.

Jurors sat through a defense case in recent days that began with Kerley’s mother and father spending hours talking about what a good son they have and how there is no way he could have harmed Dever, who they say had a methamphetamine addiction and walked away from her family in June 1996.

Kerley’s attorney had two forensic anthropologists on the witness stand Monday. They tried to pick apart the testimony of the prosecution’s forensic anthropologist who examined Dever’s body in 2007 and again earlier this year, concluding that the broken bones found among Dever’s remains had been beaten and possibly strangled. The defense anthropologists testified that their examination of Dever’s remains in 2012 only turned up evidence pointing to Dever’s remains being damaged years after her death.

Jurors sat through hours of dueling anthropologists explaining why the size, angle and type of bone fractures, some of them only a few millimeters in size, supported their respective conclusions about whether Dever was murdered or likely died of a drug overdose, after which someone dumped her body.

At one point, one anthropologist on the witness stand carefully scrutinized pig bones cut up by the opposing expert and critiqued and compared the type of markings and fracture caused by the cutting tool.

Shortly before noon, Judge Alan P. Carter once again took a swipe at attorneys for ongoing acrimony that has repeatedly led to point-counterpoint questioning about the most minute and perhaps inconsequential points. After lunch, the prosecution brought its forensic anthropologist back to the witness stand. He was asked about 50 questions, with Kerley’s defense attorney objecting to more than one-third of those questions and Carter overruling all but two of those objections. That pattern has been largely the same throughout the trial.

Prosecutors are expected Tuesday to reveal to jurors newly discovered medical records from 1995 that reflect Dever being treated by a doctor for injuries from a beating by Kerley six months before she disappeared. Prosecutors not only want to reinforce their belief that Kerley was a violent man, but refute testimony from his parents about their son’s peaceful nature.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • GemmaDecember 18, 2012 - 8:15 am

    I just don't believe that meth users carry on relationships with people who aren't also users. These two used together, he beat her, she stayed, they did more meth together, he beat her, she stayed, until the day he killed her. I hope there isn't a mistrial. She deserves JUSTICE!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Former FF residentDecember 19, 2012 - 12:17 am

    Don't bet on that idea Gemma... my exwife was a major league tweeker but I have never done drugs. They will maintain a relationship with anybody so long as it serves their needs or they benefit from it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NesDecember 18, 2012 - 9:22 am

    I don't believe that it was just her using.. But to be with him it's possible she used to try to stay for her daughter.. I know the family and he is very strange, not normal by any means. He controlled Dana then when she was gone he controlled his daughter. He did none of the house keeping or laundry she was required to have it done by the time he got home. He never allowed his gf or daughter to visit friends or family other than his parents of course they will say he's an angel he's an old child. I believe he did this and Dana deserves justice. I hope his daughter sees what an animal he actually is and would want justice for her mother.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • lilchrisDecember 19, 2012 - 1:32 pm

    I believe Dana tried to leave but he wouldnt allow that. According to his mom Dana had "gone missing" before but they always "found" her and she went back. I think he finally got tired of her leaving and made sure it would not happen again.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fairfield labor pact wins City Council OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Solano leaders feel left out of Delta decision-making

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

Polk first to file for Fairfield council

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Dally seeks to retain seat on Vacaville school board

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Carpenters training center set to expand in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Governor signs 2 bills by Frazier into law

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

2 Vacaville homes hit by gunfire

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
Library friends set spring book sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

 
Video chair exercise class returns to senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Man, woman, comic and dance contest primed for box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Rockville Trails hike on August calendar

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Mayor’s Commission on Crime hears from community

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A12, 12 Comments | Gallery

.

US / World

Dueling rulings: Courts split on health law clash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Assailants sought in fatal train platform beating

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Senate, House on collision course on border money

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
ACLU may fight for California migrant shelter

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9, 1 Comment

IRS employee charged with identity theft

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
George Harrison memorial tree killed by beetles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
Gaza blockade key to any Israel-Hamas truce deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Mexican-born professor eyed for state high court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Airlines ban flights to Israel after rocket strike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Board puts soda tax before San Francisco voters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
AP source: Thieves got into 1K StubHub accounts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Obama nominee McDonald pledges to ‘transform’ VA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Body of missing S. Korean shipping tycoon found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Crews make gains on massive Washington wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Lax security at crash site hampers investigations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Plane crash bodies removed from war zone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

Opinion

 
 
Walmart donation benefits Meals on Wheels

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Batson’s column on Mideast peace is wrong

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 5 Comments

 
Fix our problems first

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

.

Living

Today in History for July 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

How to argue appropriately with your mate

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
A summer sausage roll with a triple dose of fennel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

10 Things: 10 fresh ways to use fresh blueberries

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

 
Horoscopes for July 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

Bulking up the classic BLT without adding fat

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
I’m tired of my parents judging me because of who I date

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

.

Entertainment

‘X-Men’ VR experience coming to Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
‘Downton Abbey’ back on Jan. 4 for season 5

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
.

Sports

Raiders enter camp with ‘chip’ on shoulders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers start fresh after forgettable offseason

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants beat Phillies 9-6 in 14 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s agree to 10-year lease to stay in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
AP source: Cavs to sign Andrew Wiggins to contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Paterno son, other former assistant sue Penn State

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Pyrenees please Nibali, Rogers in Tour Stage 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Warriors announce Brandon Rush’s signing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
CEO: Rivers to quit Clippers if Sterling stays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 1 Comment

Racehorse owned by Britain’s queen fails dope test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Mudcats score early, get 7-3 win over South Bay Storm

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

Seahawks start atop AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Selig still waiting on Tommy John report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Ackman goes after Herbalife’s nutrition clubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
China meat scandal hits Starbucks, Burger King

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Solid earnings drive more gains in US stocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Microsoft 4Q earnings hurt by Nokia acquisition

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Apple post biggest earnings gain in nearly 2 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
One in every 25 New Yorkers is a millionaire, study says

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: B8

California firm issues nationwide fruit recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

John Klefstad

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6