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Defense rests in cold-case murder trial

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.

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From page A3 | December 19, 2012 | Leave Comment

VALLEJO — The defense for a Fairfield man who faces a murder charge for the 1996 death of his girlfriend rested Tuesday after five days of defense testimony.

Lonnie J. Kerley, who did not take the witness stand on his own behalf, is accused of killing Danna Dever, who lived with Kerley and their young daughter at a home in Fairfield.

Dever disappeared in the summer of 1996. Kerley reported her missing several weeks after he claimed she disappeared from their home. Her badly decomposed body was discovered that summer by farm workers in a ditch south of Dixon but was not identified by authorities until 2007.

Kerley, 53, was arrested at his Arlington Circle home in 2010 after investigators reopened the cold-case killing of Dever for a second time.

While the defense case spanned five days, the prosecution case took nearly eight weeks in a trial that began in October.

Kerley, who was indicted by a grand jury in August 2011, has pleaded not guilty.

Closing arguments are scheduled to be presented to jurors starting Wednesday morning and are expected to take several hours.

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.
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