Date farmer Joseph Davall found guilty on all counts
**UPDATE: Fri. April 10 at 2:22 p.m.***
Accused rapist Joseph Chandler Davall has been found guilty on all charges.
The 35-year-old Coachella Valley date farmer was charged in April 2014 with seven felony counts, including two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child; one count each of forcible rape, and sexual penetration by foreign object, criminal threats, first degree burglary, person; and assault to commit a felony during the commission of first-degree burglary
The two men, 10 women jury delivered the verdict at 10:10 a.m. Friday morning at Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pomona.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 13.
The trial of Joseph Chandler Davall began Tuesday, following a tedious three-day jury selection process resulting in the appointment of 12 jurors— two men and 10 women—who will ultimately decide the fate of the alleged rapist.
The Coachella Valley date farmer is accused of attacking and raping a 12-year-old Claremont girl on March 21, 2014 while she slept alone in her home. The 35-year-old defendant has been charged with seven felony counts, including two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child; one count each of forcible rape, and sexual penetration by foreign object, criminal threats, first degree burglary, person; and assault to commit a felony during the commission of first-degree burglary.
Dressed for trial in a blue dress shirt and gray slacks, Mr. Davall sat beside his attorney Mitra Donde as Judge Juan Carlos Dominguez provided instructions to the jury, admonishing them not to talk about this case with anyone.
“You must come to a verdict based only on the evidence presented at trial,” he said. “A defendant in a criminal case is presumed to be innocent. This presumption requires that the People prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Babette Huley is prosecuting the case and, in her opening statement, provided jurors with a brief summary of the events that allegedly took place on the night in question.
“After hearing all the evidence, the People are certain you will return a guilty verdict on all counts,” Ms. Huely told the jury.
Ms. Donde followed with her opening statement. “You must presume my client is innocent, listen to the evidence, follow the judge’s instructions and give justice to these proceedings,” she said.
Ms. Huley then called her first witness: the victim, identified as Jane Doe.
With her grandparents already seated, the now 13-year-old girl was escorted into the courtroom with a Victim’s Services representative and sworn in before her testimony. She recalled the night of her attack, telling the court she was at a friend’s house for a bonfire on March 21 when her father and his friend picked her up around 11 p.m. to take her home.
As she rode in the rear passenger seat of her dad’s friend’s car and approached her home, she noticed a man on the sidewalk but didn’t say anything to anyone. The teen told the court the man had caught her attention because she hadn’t seen him before.
“I was observing him,” she said. “We didn’t make eye contact, but I remember thinking it was weird he was wearing a hat since it was dark outside.”
Once parked outside the complex, her father walked her to the front door of the family’s one-bedroom apartment and said he was going out for a bit and would come back later. She shut the front door and locked it behind her before retiring to her room where she laid in bed with her phone before falling asleep.
“Is that the only door in your home that leads to the outside?” Ms. Huley asked the victim.
“There’s a backdoor in the kitchen that leads to a backyard,” Ms. Doe told the court. “There used to be a fence around the yard it, but it was open because they were fixing it. The backdoor is always locked because we never use it.”
After falling asleep, the junior high student was awoken a short time later.
“I felt a pain in my sides and heard a clicking noise,” she said. “There was a stranger on top of me and I started to freak out. I tried to get loose but I couldn’t move. He looked like the same man from outside.”
When asked by the prosecutor to describe the remaining details of her attack, the victim began to cry and asked her grandparents to leave the courtroom before she continued. They complied.
Following a 10-minute break, Ms. Doe’s testimony resumed as she spoke of her attack, first of her struggle with the assailant followed by details of the assault.
The victim said that her assailant threatened her, saying, “I know where you live and I know what school you go to. I’ll have my boys come back and kill you!”
After he left, Ms. Doe tried to find her phone but was unable to locate it. Not believing what had just happened, she sat in bed until her father came home shortly after.
“I didn’t leave because I was scared he might still be outside and try to kill me,” she explained when asked if she tried to get help.
Ms. Doe said that her father took her to the Claremont Police Department to report the crime when he returned home and then to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center where a nurse examined her.
“Did you see or hear more than one person?” Ms. Huley asked the victim to which she replied, “No.”
“Do you see that person in court today and can you identify him by pointing to him and describing what color he’s wearing?”
Ms. Doe pointed to Mr. Davall and simply said, “Blue.”
The defense asked but one question before dismissing Ms. Doe, with the understanding she may again be called to testify.
Trial resumed Wednesday with jurors hearing testimony from several experts, including a nurse detailing the victim’s forensic exam as well as a DNA expert and officers who investigated the scene of the crime.
The case went to the jury late Thursday morning and as of press time, no verdict has been reached. If convicted as charged, Mr. Davall faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The COURIER will cover the verdict if, or when, one is reached.