After more than two days of deliberation, a Solano County Superior Court jury on Friday found accused serial rapist Victor Lamar Davis of Vacaville guilty on 39 felony charges, including burglary, rape, robbery, kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon stemming from a series of attacks in Vacaville and San Rafael between 2005 and 2007. [...]The acquittals are important to note because those crimes fit the pattern of criminal behavior shown in the crimes for which Davis was convicted. I don't know if this pattern was so distinctive that the possibility that another man committed those crimes is nil.
The jury found Davis not guilty on charges of burglary, rape, assault, making criminal threats, sexual battery and forcible oral copulation in connection with the first three cases that were charged as part of the crime spree. Those cases, involving three Vacaville women during 2004-05, had neither eyewitness identifications nor useable DNA evidence that would point to Davis as the perpetrator. He also was ruled not guilty on one count of robbery stemming from a 2007 holdup in San Rafael.
If this was the case, and the pattern of behavior was so personal and so distinctive that those repeated behaviors could be linked only to one perpetrator, then the not guilty verdicts are troubling.
An absence of forensic evidence alone is not reasonable doubt. Yet this is an idea which seems to be gaining hold.
In this case the acquittals may not make a practical difference because Davis faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. But in other crimes if the absence of DNA eliminates the possibility of a conviction public safety will be needlessly put at risk.