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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Wife beater’s alibi doesn’t hold up

Real-life trial lawyers don’t get a lot of Perry Mason moments, but Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Debra Hayes had one Tuesday.

David Elliath Sukin, 48, claimed he couldn’t have severely beaten his wife on May 7 because he was staying with a friend, Spokane resident Ray Edward O’Donnell. That was true, O’Donnell testified.

But O’Donnell, 57, was a long-haul trucker at the time, and Hayes used satellite tracking data from O’Donnell’s employer to show that Sukin couldn’t have been with O’Donnell, who was actually on the road. O’Donnell didn’t arrive in Spokane until long after the assault that shattered Darla Campbell-Sukin’s face.

O’Donnell claimed he arrived in Spokane between noon and 3 p.m. on May 6, but under questioning by Hayes, a trucking company safety director testified that satellite tracking showed O’Donnell didn’t leave Sacramento, Calif., until 8:56 p.m. on May 6.

The assault occurred in the morning of May 7, and O’Donnell didn’t arrive in Spokane until about 10 p.m.

“It was a good day,” Hayes said after a jury took just three hours to eat lunch and convict Sukin as charged.

Sukin’s wife testified that, while he was breaking her facial bones in five places, he complained that she was making him late to his 8:30 a.m. domestic violence counseling session. He attended a later session at 10:30 and got his counselor to testify as an alibi witness.

Doctors had to implant a plate to replace part of Campbell-Sukin’s shattered facial bones, and she still has no feeling in her left cheek. It is too early to tell whether she will be permanently disfigured, a doctor testified.

Jurors convicted David Sukin of second-degree assault and violation of a protection order for going to his wife’s home on South Ferrall.

The protection-order violation ordinarily would have been a gross misdemeanor, punishable by no more than a year in jail, but the jury found Sukin already had been convicted twice for protection-order violations. That turned the crime into a felony, punishable by 22 to 29 months in prison.

A standard 15- to 20-month sentence for the assault conviction likely will be folded into the protection-order sentence when Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt sentences Sukin. No sentencing date was set Tuesday.

It was the second time Sukin had been convicted of battering his wife.

He pleaded guilty in December 2003 to fourth-degree assault, felony harassment, interfering with a domestic-violence report and second-degree animal cruelty.

As for O’Donnell, Hayes said, “He might have a perjury issue. I know that’s being investigated.”

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