Ex-Savoy fire captain guilty of raping party guest

Ex-Savoy fire captain guilty of raping party guest

URBANA — A Savoy fire official convicted of raping an underling at a party at his own home a year ago faces a lengthy prison term.

A Champaign County jury deliberated just under two hours Thursday afternoon before finding David "D.J." Dunn guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The 44-year-old former Savoy fire captain and paramedic was set to leave the community to take a fire chief job in Alaska on April 3, 2017, when, at a party at his home that started April 1 and stretched in to April 2, he gave an incapacitating drug to a probationary firefighter, then committed sex acts on the man, who was unable to consent.

Judge Tom Difanis revoked Dunn's bond and he was taken into custody pending sentencing July 3. Dunn faces a mandatory prison term with potential penalties ranging from 15 to 67 years.

Defense attorney Tom Bruno rested his case without calling any witnesses. Dunn, who had been offered a negotiated plea agreement for 25 years in prison, told Difanis he did not want to testify.

The 22-year-old victim, his girlfriend and two other friends were in the courtroom to hear Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar and Bruno deliver closing arguments to the seven men and five women on the jury.

Also present were relatives and friends of Dunn and Champaign County sheriff's investigators who worked the case.

"It wasn't a sexually charged party. This is an adult party. It's also not the last Bacchanalia of Rome," Lozar said of the party at Dunn's house on Tomaras Avenue, where most in attendance were drinking, some more than others.

The prosecutor said it was after most people had left that Dunn gave the intoxicated younger man a bag of saline solution intravenously, under the guise of helping him stave off a raging hangover.

The man testified he had not consented to that and had no recall of it being placed in his arm. However, he had sent his girlfriend a text earlier saying that Dunn gave IVs to help with hangovers.

Carson Lewis, another firefighter who had not been drinking as much as the others, assisted Dunn in getting the man to a recliner in the living room and eventually to Dunn's bed. Lewis said he actually held the solution bag until it was emptied, then helped Dunn get the passed-out man into a "recovery" position on his side so he wouldn't inhale vomit if he got sick.

Lewis said Dunn left the IV line in the man but taped it down, and then Lewis went back across the street to his own home around 5 a.m. Lewis said the victim was wearing his boxer shorts when he left.

The time was significant, Lozar argued, because it was just before 6 a.m. that Dunn's cellphone took a picture of the naked man, flat on his back. And at 7:24 a.m., a 14-minute video was created on Dunn's phone showing Dunn performing sex acts on the man, who was barely moving.

Sheriff's investigator J.R. Meeker, an expert in examining cellphones, testified Thursday that he found both the still photo and the video in a deleted folder of Dunn's phone.

Meeker said the photos had been deleted at 4:07 p.m. that Sunday, minutes after Dunn's roommate, Brian Peddycoart, confronted Dunn with questions about what had happened that caused the victim to go to the hospital. Peddycoart knew the victim reported being sexually assaulted to police because Peddycoart was working as a dispatcher at METCAD.

"This is not a human being in any condition to give consent to any sexual acts with anyone," Lozar argued.

Among the final witnesses for the state was Illinois State Crime Lab chemist Joshua Stern, who said he found ketamine in one of two empty IV bags recovered from Dunn's trash.

Dunn had admitted to sheriff's investigator Dwayne Roelfs that he had access to that anesthetic type drug in his air rescue job in Alaska. He denied having any of it in his home, although he admitted having other outdated drugs, IV bags and medical supplies.

In the same statement to Roelfs and sheriff's Sgt. Chris Darr, which the jury heard for two hours Wednesday, Dunn said he believed the victim was consenting to the sex acts by his body language and by not saying no.

"Is that person who can't hold his head up in any fit state to consent to sexual activity or is that a person who told you what happened to him, that this was horrifying?" Lozar said.

The victim described feeling paralyzed, outside his body, aware of what was happening to him but unable to make any kind of physical response.

That was almost exactly the same description that Carle Dr. Brent Reifsteck, an expert in pediatric sedation, gave about the effects of ketamine, commonly used to sedate children who need MRIs. The advantage of ketamine as an anesthetic, Reifsteck said, is that it does not suppress the cardiovascular or respiratory systems.

"It disconnects the brain from the body," said Reifsteck. "The (recipient) can be staring but really asleep, not able to interact with you the way a fully alert person would."

Bruno argued that Lozar had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Dunn who put the ketamine in the solution administered to the man.

"It's a leap of faith to say we know for certain how it got there," Bruno said.

He added that the state had not lifted fingerprints from the IV bags and that the investigators had developed "tunnel vision" about their belief that Dunn was responsible, perhaps overlooking other evidence.

He also defended his client's two-hour statement to the investigators as being "fairly genuine" even though Dunn initially started with denials and moved on to admitting that he had given the man Cialis and performed sex acts on him.

Bruno argued that Dunn could not be certain that the man was unable to consent, a necessary element of the offense.

"He gave this man (Dunn) a hug goodbye before he left. Are we sure we've got this figured out all right?" Bruno said.

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