Friday, 12 July 2024

Hidden Valley Lake man to stand trial for rape charge; additional charges dropped

LAKEPORT – On Monday a judge ruled that a Hidden Valley Lake man will stand trial for one charge in connection with an alleged July rape, but two other significant charges were dropped.

Judge Richard Martin ruled that 26-year-old John Wesley Dunn Jr. would be tried for a charge of rape while using alcohol to prevent resisting.

However, Martin found there wasn't sufficient evidence to warrant Dunn's prosecution on two other counts – kidnap with the intent to rape and assault with the intent to commit a crime.

The kidnap charge alone carried a maximum life sentence, said Dunn's defense attorney, Stephen Carter. The remaining charge carries a maximum eight-year prison sentence.

“I'm very optimistic about the way the case is progressing and we're very eager to get the case to jury trial,” Carter said Monday.

Dunn, who has no previous criminal history, was arrested in August for allegedly raping a 25-year-old female acquaintance who he had driven home following a night of dancing and drinking.

He had been held in the Lake County Jail for three weeks on $350,000 bail before a lengthy bail hearing during which Carter put on more than 15 witnesses who attested to Dunn's character. Judge Arthur Mann ordered Dunn released on his own recognizance at the end of the hearing, as Lake County News has reported.

Dunn's preliminary hearing began late Friday morning and ran the remainder of the day, forcing the court to reschedule for this Friday the preliminary hearing for Joshua Wandry and Deborah James in the beating, shooting and hogtying of Ronald Greiner in October. The need for rescheduling resulted from Carter representing both Dunn and Wandry.

The hearing continued for nearly two more hours Monday morning, with Carter and prosecutor Ed Borg arguing the points of the case before Martin's ruling.

On Friday, Borg had called sheriff's Det. Mike Curran, who interviewed the alleged victim.

The woman, who had been told by a doctor to reduce her alcohol consumption due to an ulcer, said she had a total of five drinks that night.

She went with family and friends to Twin Pine Casino, something they commonly did on Fridays, for drinks and dancing.

While she was there the woman saw Dunn, with whom she was acquainted. She told investigators he was interested in her romantically, but she wasn't interested as she dating someone else.

She told investigators that Dunn bought her and a friend some drinks, and she asked him to dance with her, which he did several times.

According to Curran's testimony, the young woman didn't remember leaving the casino or much else about the latter part of the evening – including the fact that she had trouble walking and had fallen down – only that she woke up the next morning and discovered that she was missing her underwear and had physical discomfort.

Sheriff's Det. John Drewrey, who worked the case with Curran, presented information from the sexual assault exam performed on the victim by a St. Helena Hospital Clearlake doctor.

The doctor observed multiple bruises over the woman's body, including her right thigh, groin, foot and ankle, with superficial scratches found sporadically over her body. The bruises were found to be consistent with the time frame of the events the woman gave investigators.

Drewrey said the doctor stated that he couldn't give a definitive answer about what caused the injuries, but that they were consistent with sexual assault.

The victim, using Drewrey's cell phone, made two “pretext” calls to Dunn to ask him about the evening.

During the first call, the woman asked Dunn if they had sex, which he confirmed that they did. In a second call, he said they had sex in his car after he pulled off the road while driving her home.

Drewrey also reported speaking with a friend of the alleged victim who said she was “falling down drunk” and had slurred speed at the end of the evening.

Dunn told Drewrey during an interview that the woman had come up to him at the bar, grabbed him by the shirt and asked him to drive her home. He asked if she was sure that she wanted to go, she said yes, and they left.

Surveillance video of the two – which Borg showed at the end of the day Friday – showed them walking out of the casino with their arms around each other. Dunn had told detectives that he was trying to help her walk, and at one point picked her up while helping her to his car.

Dunn told detectives that, on the drive home in his 1998 Ford Mustang, the young woman tried to get on top of him. He pulled over behind a former restaurant location and they had sex in the vehicle there.

Afterward, he took her back to her home, where her sister was babysitting the woman's young daughter, whose birthday it had been that night. The young woman vomited when the got to her house, and then Dunn helped put her on the couch before leaving.

Borg said Dunn is set for arraignment on the single charge on Jan. 19. 2010.

“It will not go to trial very soon,” Borg told Lake County News on Monday.

He estimated that, due to the number of cases currently on the court calendar, the case won't come to trial until April or May at the earliest.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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