Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Parker Ray: The Toy Box Killer

The First Trial, Once Again

Jury selection began in November 2000 for the retrial, with Jim Yontz as the prosecutor, but just a few days into it, Judge Mertz died. That delayed the proceedings, as did the disqualification of two more judges. Finally on April 9, 2001, the trial commenced, with Los Lunas attorney, Kevin Sweazea, just appointed a judge, on the judge's bench. The Court of Appeals had upheld Mertz's ruling about the items found inadmissible, so Yontz once again had an uphill climb. But he was more prepared to emphasize the nature of this victim's ordeal.

The same people testified, including the victim. She testified about her abduction from a bar shortly after her marriage had fallen apart. She described being led on a leash like a dog, from the large trailer to a smaller one. Her feet were placed into stirrups, and she was strapped into place, whereupon Ray began to insert dildos of different sizes into her. She wanted to leave, she said, and she heard Ray lock and unlock the door many times. She was given nothing to eat or drink.

Ray's new attorney, Lee McMillian, asked her why it had taken three years for her to come forward with this story. He also hammered her with differences in her testimony from the previous trial. She could only explain that her memory was hazy. He suggested it was all a fantasy that she'd made up. A psychotherapist, David Spencer testified, just as he had in the first trial. He had been treating the victim, and her sleep disorders were consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ray's audiotape and the videotape he'd made of what he had done to this victim were played in court. The victim cried as she watched, but the jury members showed no reaction. It seemed possible that they might be inclined, like the first jury, to acquit.

The defense called no witnesses, because an expert on sadomasochistic psychology was disallowed. This person supposedly would have addressed the nature of consensual sexual fantasy play that involved the rituals that Ray had used. Ray said that he'd wanted to testify on his own behalf, but his attorney had advised against it. He vowed that if he was convicted, he would fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. "If you're innocent, you're innocent," he said. "I am innocent."

The jury convicted him, nevertheless, on all twelve charges for that case, so he gave an interview to an Albuquerque television station, KOB-TV to offer his side.

"I feel raped," he said, with some irony. "I got pleasure out of a woman getting pleasure. I did what they wanted me to do." To explain the sadistic tapes he had created, he said, "It was a source of entertainment for me to create these tapes. That's why there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the tape stating that it was for adult entertainment only."

With one conviction behind him, Ray now faced the possibility of worse yet to come, and that he might spend the rest of his life in jail.

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