A state appeals court panel Wednesday upheld a former San Bernardino County resident’s conviction for breaking into a Claremont home and raping a 12-year-old girl.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the trial court’s failure to grant Joseph Chandler Davall’s motion for a change of venue from Pomona deprived him of his right to a fair trial.
“Regarding the status of the appellant and the victim, neither appeared to be well-known in the community, and even if well-known in Claremont, that was one of 17 communities from which prospective jurors were drawn,” the appellate court panel wrote in a 25-page ruling. “In the absence of any evidence that any juror had read the news reports or otherwise heard of the case, we have no basis to conclude that appellant was prejudiced by the denial of his motion.”
Davall was convicted in April 2015 of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count each of forcible rape, sexual penetration by a foreign object, first-degree burglary with a person present, assault to commit a felony during the commission of a first-degree burglary and making criminal threats.
The Yucca Valley man broke into the girl’s home while she was asleep in bed March 21, 2014, Deputy District Attorney Babette Huley said after the verdict.
Police said the girl had been at home alone and that she tried continuously to fight him off.
After the attack, Davall left the home with the girl’s phone and threatened that she would be killed if she said anything about the assault, according to the prosecutor.
Davall was linked to the attack through a DNA database.
He is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
–City News Service
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