Friday, October 24, 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

 
‘The Rocky Horror Show’ finds a home on stage

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
For sale: Solano home with Nike missile bunkers

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Salvation Army debuts giant kettle for holidays campaign

By Robinson Kuntz | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

New survey details vast scope of teen dating abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Boosters seek to keep Bay Bridge light display

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Driver attacked after ice cream truck kills boy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
$50,000 reward to find killer of Anaheim girl, 9

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Video shows bikers taunting California officer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

 
California man guilty in wife’s stabbing death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Brown opens up spending in campaign’s final month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Suspect in girl’s 1984 killing was police employee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

PTSD argued in case of Marine jailed in Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
US tech firm fined for underpaying Indian workers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Paintings in national parks spark probe, furor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Prisoner in Afghanistan to be tried in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US, SKorea agree to delay wartime control transfer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US officials: Iraqi army regrouping slowly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Gary killings put spotlight on abandoned buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Lawmakers seek to end benefits to former Nazis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

For teen with passport, Syria trip can be seamless

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Border deaths drop to 15-year low

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Cremation fears leave empty Ebola beds in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Ex-Mountie hero of shooting at Canada’s Parliament

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Canada gunman wanted a passport to go to Mideast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NYC mayor: Don’t be alarmed by doctor’s Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NK experts: US must apologize to free detainees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ebola: A crash course in fear and how it hurts us

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 4 Comments

NY doctor back from Guinea has Ebola, 1st in city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

Opinion

 
Planning Commission not listening to the people

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 8 Comments

Not sure I trust government on Ebola

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

 
Is America prepared for Ebola or is threat overhyped?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My husband and I don’t share anything anymore, including a bedroom

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Oct. 24-30, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘John Wick’ delivers non-stop action

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘Rocky Horror’ a participatory treat

By Tony Wade | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar Oct. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Burns’ series gives PBS a ratings milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Q&A: Mick Jagger, the film producer, heads to work

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

.

Sports

 
At 1-all, World Series moves to quirky Giants park

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Giants’ Hudson to face Royals’ Guthrie in Game 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
College notebook: Cordes chosen to try out for USA national team

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Homecoming still on but no game for VCS

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
Compton among PGA leaders at Sea Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Steve Nash ruled out for season with back injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Judge questions $75M NCAA concussion settlement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Arizona men near-unanimous pick by media to win Pac-12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Raiders may lose Woodley to biceps injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

No. 6 Oregon looks to extend streak against Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
The Write Way: KC coach’s lineup cards are artful

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Prep football capsules: Week 8

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Manning, Sanders lead Broncos past Chargers, 35-21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Honda Fit becomes even more intriguing small car

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Letting your car find a spot and park itself

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
A blue Christmas for Amazon?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Zuckerberg speaks Chinese, Beijing students cheer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9