FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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.

Crime-courts

Judge sentences cold-case killer to 15 years to life in prison

By From page A1 | January 31, 2013

VALLEJO — A Fairfield man who beat and killed his live-in girlfriend in 1996 was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life in prison.

“Our family has waited for close to 17 years for justice,” said the mother of Danna Dever, whose unidentified, mummified remains were found in a ravine south of Dixon several weeks after her disappearance in June 1996.

Lonnie J. Kerley, 53, who had a history of domestic violence with Dever, the mother of their daughter, was long suspected by law enforcement as a suspect in Dever’s disappearance.

He first reported her disappearance to authorities six weeks after he claimed she just walked out the door of their Cordelia home one morning and never returned. While Dever’s remains were discovered, they went unidentified until 2007 when investigators reopened the cold case. The investigation stalled again but was reopened again in 2010 when Kerley was arrested.

A Solano County grand jury in 2011 handed down an indictment charging Kerley with second-degree murder. After a two-month trial, a jury came back with a guilty verdict earlier this month.

Dever’s mother and other relatives praised the work of prosecutors Krishna Abrams and Julie Underwood who worked the case with Fairfield police and Solano County sheriff’s deputies for nearly three years.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] 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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Discussion | 4 comments

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  • BradJanuary 31, 2013 - 9:41 am

    what a joke.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LeoJanuary 31, 2013 - 10:37 am

    I still wonder how a person reported missing in Solano County and whose body is found a few months later in Solano County could not be id'd for 11 years!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • UnbelievableJanuary 31, 2013 - 1:42 pm

    15 years????? That's almost as many years as she's been gone! Solano County is a JOKE! Cops do their jobs,turn it over to the county, and the county releases all the losers back onto the streets, for the cycle to repeat.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • lilchrisFebruary 01, 2013 - 11:48 am

    15 years cannot make up for a lifetime lost. Lets hope that 15 to life will be closer to life.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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