Victim testifies in court, details attack by date farmer

A preliminary hearing for accused rapist Joseph Chandler Davall went forward as scheduled Monday morning, with the alleged victim taking the stand in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

With the defendant present in the courtroom, the young girl recounted the violent sexual assault she endured this past March while sleeping in her Claremont home.

Dressed in an oversized gray sweatshirt with her long, dark hair piled high on her head, the preteen told the court she had been at a friend’s house earlier in the evening when her father and his friend picked her up to take her home. As their vehicle approached her residence, she said she saw a suspicious-looking man, wearing a dark navy blue hat, walking on the sidewalk but she didn’t say anything to her father.

Once home, the girl’s father dropped her off at about 11 p.m. and went out with his friend, leaving the then 12-year-old girl alone in the apartment. She testified that she was tired and checked to make sure the doors were locked before heading off to her room to go to sleep. She was awoken a short time later and saw what she described as a “random person” in her room. The victim said he looked like the suspicious guy in the hat who she saw earlier outside her home.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Babette Huley continued to question the Claremont girl, who requested to take a break when asked to recall the details of the incident. She was escorted out of the courtroom and re-emerged with a Victim’s Services Representative provided by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, who took a seat nearby and provided support as the girl continued her testimony.

The victim went on to describe her attack in detail, often with tears in her eyes, and did her best to direct her attention to her support person and the Deputy DA rather than the defendant, who was seated at the defense table, dressed in a blue jail-issued jumpsuit. She recounted her struggle to break free of her ligatures and how her attacker threatened her life if she told anyone about what had happened.

“Is that person in the court today?” asked Ms. Huley. “What color is that person wearing?”

“Blue,” answered the girl. The prosecution had no further questions.

Mr. Davall’s attorney, Mitra Donde, followed up with a cross-examination and apologized to the victim in advance for having to ask some extremely personal questions.

After the cross-examination, the Deputy DA approached the girl again, asking her to clarify a few details about the attack and what happened after the assailant left.

“I stayed in bed, sat up and waited for my dad to come home,” she recalled. “Then I left with him and we went to the police station.”

No other witnesses were called to the stand.

With testimony complete, Ms. Donde moved to dismiss the charges against her client. However, Pomona Judge Bruce F. Marrs determined there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and held the defendant to answer for those crimes.

An arraignment has been scheduled for November 10. A formal discovery hearing will also be heard at that time.

Mr. Davall has been charged with seven felony counts including two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child; one count each of forcible rape; sexual penetration by foreign object; and assault to commit a felony during the commission of first-degree burglaries.

If convicted, the date farmer faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He remains in custody at Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, held on $5 million bail.

—Angela Bailey


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