“It was the ultimate act of control. Assaulting a woman who can’t resist,” said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto as the trial of Daniel Dorado came to a close in the San Diego courtroom of Judge Charles Rogers on December 17, 2019. The 61-year-old former La Jolla restaurateur was charged with sexually assaulting eight women, ages 22 to 57, over a nine-year-period. Coto told the jury Dorado didn’t just have a pattern and a plan, but a formula to find vulnerable women and to have a special drink waiting for them, either a glass of wine or a pink drink in a martini glass. This special drink quickly rendered them unusually intoxicated, feeling heaving, drowsy, and ill. Ultimately, they became incapacitated, many losing consciousness for periods of time before awaking without memory. Those women who awoke briefly found themselves being sexually assaulted before falling back into darkness. Because it created no memory, there was no accountability which meant he could do it “again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again” declared Coto as she displayed a photograph of each victim with every recitation of “again.”
Dorado met some of the women on “his own turf” at his Italian restaurant Voce Del Mare in the upscale area of La Jolla, when they responded to employment advertisements he had placed. Others he met through on-line dating services. The prosecution asked the jury to find Dorado guilty of 35 felonies, charges including assault with intent to commit rape, rape of an unconscious person, and rape of an intoxicated person.
Dorado’s defense attorney, Kim Santini, proclaimed in her opening statement there was no evidence any of the women were given a date rape drug and pronounced the case the result of an overzealous district attorney and detective. They have “nada, zip, nothing regarding a date rape drug,” Santini stated forcefully. Instead, the case was about alcohol she insisted, explaining the intoxicating effects stemmed from women voluntarily imbibing large quantities of alcohol and from mixing various forms of liquors. All sexual activity was consensual and at least one woman had a financial motive as Dorado was a successful restauranteur, real estate owner, and businessman in car dealership promotions.
The “mysterious pink drink” was a cosmopolitan, a mixture of vodka and cranberry juice, and was Dorado’s favorite drink, which he offered freely to all Santini explained. In fact, Dorado gave every restaurant patron a free drink, either a glass of champagne or wine, as he possessed a generous spirit and wished to build further goodwill. “He is the ultimate host. The life of the party in social situations,” she maintained, before declaring Daniel Dorado not guilty of any of the acts.
Date Rape Drugs or Not?
Although the case may have appeared to involve date rape drugs, Daniel Dorado was not charged with drugging any of the women. No scientific evidence of any drug was found in toxicology testing, except for the finding of dextromethorphan in Marissa C.’s urine. Dextromethorphan is present in over-the-counter cough medicine and was found in the minute proportion of less than 5 nanograms per mil. The prosecution’s expert, Kristen Stewart, a forensic toxicologist with Bio Tox Laboratories testified date rape drugs, specifically GHP, dissipate quickly from the body, and will be gone by eight hours. Unless a person is tested within that tight timeframe, the drug cannot be found. None of the women in this case reported early enough to be tested within such a timeframe. Lisa Merzwski, the supervising criminalist at the San Diego Crime Lab, testified Detective Crumb requested GHP testing for Marissa but it since it was beyond the eight hours, simply could not be done.
Stewart explained Bio Tox Laboratories completes a comprehensive drug panel which tests for 200 drugs, including date rape drugs, save GHP, which must be tested separately. She stated GHP, or gamma-hydroxybutyrate, is a central nervous system depressant which can cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness, symptoms many of the women experienced in this case. Was GHP used? We will never know. Daniel Dorado took the witness stand in his own defense and adamantly denied putting any substance in the women’s drinks or food and testified any sexual activity was always consensual.
In addressing the dextromethorphan found in Marissa’s urine, Stewart explained dextromethorphan is a central nervous system depressant and depending on the dosage can cause dizziness, drowsiness, balance and coordination issues, trouble focusing, and nausea. At high doses it may cause dissociative, anesthetic effects, akin to the drug Ketamine. Experts differed as to whether the finding of less than 5 nanograms per mil should have been reported as a positive or negative result. The defense expert, Gregory Zavatsky, a forensic and clinical toxicologist with his own consulting firm and work association with the international laboratory Quest Diagnostics, testified the dextromethorphan result should have been reported as a negative as it fell below the level of quantitation and Bio Tox was not reporting correctly per industry standards. Stewart was recalled to the stand, explained Bio Tox’s method of reporting, and assured it met industry standards.
In her closing argument, prosecutor Coto repeatedly told the jury the prosecution did not have to prove Dorado gave the women a drug, but that the women were prevented from resisting because they were unconscious, asleep, or not aware of the act, or due to the effects of an intoxicating, anesthetic, and/or substance could not resist. Therefore, the women were unable to give legal consent, and Dorado knew or should have known so.
Santini’s co-counsel, Eric Youngquist, gave the defense closing argument and confidently addressed the consent issue stating emphatically, “drunkenness does not equal lack of capacity to consent.” In every case the women had the capacity to consent he insisted. “Making unwise choices is not illegal,” he said before adding the women made free will choices. “That’s what we have in play here.” Youngquist proclaimed there was reasonable doubt found in each case and asked the jury to find Daniel Dorado not guilty of all 35 counts.
The Eight Women
#1 Brandie B. – December 23, 2009 – Age 31
Brandie B. worked for Dorado for several months as a weekend hostess in his car dealership promotions, but she needed a full-time position as she and her husband had recently lost their jobs. She was happy when Dorado offered her full-time employment and believed their December 23, 2009, meeting would be merely to discuss the specifics. She was supposed to meet Dorado at Starbucks, but when she parked, Dorado told her it was too loud and crowded and they would go somewhere else. After making a quick stop at Dorado’s house, Dorado pulled into a train station parking lot and opened a bottle of champagne which had already been in his new corvette. The glass of champagne he gave her looked foggy and dirty, but she drank it as she felt she had no choice. They drove around Rancho Santa Fe drinking the champagne and she wondered when they would talk about the job. She guessed she had two glasses of champagne and she felt buzzed. Dorado threw her glass out the window along with the empty bottle of champagne, but she noticed he did not throw out his own glass.
They next went to the L’Auberge hotel to meet Dorado’s friend, Dr. George Lopez. She felt dizzy and unsteady in walking. At the hotel bar, Dorado ordered Brandie a glass of white wine. She ate a beet salad and possibly prawns or seafood. She went to the bathroom and felt dizzy but was able to send a text to her husband to tell him where she was. When she returned to the bar, Dorado had ordered her another glass of wine and it was waiting for her. She drank the wine and again went to the bathroom. This time she could barely stand up and had to put her hands on the bathroom wall to steady herself. She tried to send a text to her husband, but her fingers were not working. The defense questioned why she didn’t ask anyone at L’Auberge for help or call 911. “Instead she drinks more alcohol” said Youngquist. They moved outside to the fire pit, and Dorado gave her an amaretto and she also took a sip of Dorado’s Courvoisier.
Brandie had “lots of holes in her memory” from the time in the bathroom, but she remembered Dorado had to seat belt her into his car. Suddenly, she felt vomit coming up and was later told by Dorado she had thrown up in his car. At this point in her testimony, Brandie grew so emotional she asked Judge Rogers for a break. At last able to resume her testimony, she said her next memory was waking up in a bed, naked with her bra pulled down, and vomit in her hair and clothes. She had a “ghost flash of a penis.” When she asked what happened, Dorado laughed and said she had too much to drink. They were at Dorado’s home in Solana Beach and there was pink vomit all over the stairwell, carpet, and kitchen. Brandie had pain in her vagina and anus but no memory of what had happened.
Around midnight, Dorado took her back to her car and she drove home but had no memory of driving. Her husband opened the door and said she looked drugged. He called the sheriff. Deputy Herrera came to her house, but Brandie did not feel comfortable talking to a male, so she did not give him complete details. Once he left, she went to the bathroom and saw the bowl full of blood. She took a shower and went to bed. The next morning, she went to Planned Parenthood and they called the police. She underwent a SART examination (Sexual Assault Response Team exam) and they found injuries to her hymen and cervix, and fresh blood in her anus. Dorado’s DNA was found on her panties and bra. Throughout her testimony Brandie was often very emotional, crying, and at the very end said, “I was afraid to admit to myself what I thought happened. It took 10 years to say I was raped and not choke.”
On cross-examination, the defense showed Deputy Herrera’s report revealed she told him, “I don’t know why my husband called the police. This is no big deal.” His report further stated she did not desire prosecution. In closing, Youngquist urged the jury to carefully review the Computer-Aided Dispatch report from that night showing Deputy Herrera cleared the case as “no sexual assault,” that Brandie did not want to press charges, and that she said her husband was making a big deal out of nothing.
When Dorado took the witness stand, he testified he offered to call Brandie’s husband to come pick her up, but she wanted to go to his house to sleep it off. He said he went downstairs to get her some cranberry juice and when he came back, she had her rear turned toward him and told him to “fuck me.” He was tempted but because they were both married, resisted. He testified she took his hand and put it in her vagina, and any injuries may have resulted from his long fingernails.
#2 Sarah D. – May 14, 2014 – Age 27
When Sarah D. answered Dorado’s Craigslist ad for a hostess, he asked her if she could come by the restaurant that very night. She arrived around 8:30 for the interview and he had a glass of wine waiting for her at the bar. He told her to enjoy it. After drinking half the glass, she felt the effects immediately. He poured her a second glass, and after drinking it, she felt very intoxicated, and everything was hazy and blurry. She felt heavy like she had lead in her body. She told Dorado she was going to call her sister to pick her up, but he was against it. On the witness stand, Sarah testified she had eight glasses of wine, although Dorado testified he only poured her three.
She passed out and woke up on Dorado’s lap naked with her bra pulled down, with Dorado’s fingers in her vagina trying to pull out her tampon. He had on boxers and she saw his penis. She fell back into darkness and then woke up on the floor with Dorado still trying to pull out her tampon. He told her, “It’s okay. It’s natural, beautiful.” She offered him oral copulation to keep him from raping her. Sarah did not report the incident for over four years, until March of 2018, when she saw a news story on the case. Her decision to not report was because she felt she had already put her family through enough, as prior to meeting Dorado her boyfriend nearly beat her to death, and she had sustained a traumatic brain injury requiring surgery.
When Dorado testified, he stated they flirted, kissed, and she willingly gave him oral sex. She also worked for him for 10 days after that night. Prosecutor Coto explained she worked for him because she had low self-esteem and was coming out of a hard time in her life. Defense attorney Youngquist raised Sarah had brain surgery and was on medications, so she should not have been drinking. In his closing he emphasized Sarah did not report for four years and then proclaimed her motive was a potential civil suit for money damages.
#3 Yesenia – April 27, 2015 – Age 22
Yesenia was a 22-year-old college student living with her mother. She answered the Craigslist ad Dorado listed for a hostess position at his restaurant. She arrived for the interview around 9:30 p.m. and Dorado brought her a glass of white wine. She waited on the patio for about 30 minutes and then Dorado brought her inside the restaurant and poured another glass of wine for her, which she did not finish. She immediately felt the effects, was heavy, dizzy and started losing consciousness. She awoke and felt like she was going to vomit. Dorado helped her to the bathroom where she vomited three times. Yesenia testified she drank a lot on the weekends, 7-10 shots with friends and never lost consciousness or vomited.
Afterward vomiting, Dorado helped her back to the lobby and gave her more wine. She again lost consciousness and woke up on the floor of the restaurant with Dorado on top of her raping her. She tried to push him off, but she did not have enough strength. She lost consciousness again and awoke to the telephone ringing. It was her mother and Dorado told her to tell her she was okay. Finally, she drove home and her mother took her to the hospital and called the police from there.
Yesenia had a SART exam and they found lacerations and abrasions to her vagina and petechia (purple spots due to bleeding under the skin) on her breasts. Dorado’s DNA was found on her inner thigh, external genitals, and breasts.
In a pretext call and police interview, Dorado denied the intercourse and called Yesenia aggressive. He also said he had no intention of hiring her because of her heavy accent. On the witness stand Dorado testified Yesenia got flirtatious and offered oral sex, which led to intercourse. The defense raised Yesenia suffered epileptic seizures and was taking Dilantin. In his closing argument, attorney Youngquist said Yesenia could have left freely of her own will as there was no evidence of a date rape drug. Getting to a motive, he exclaimed, “Do you want motive?” She filed a civil lawsuit shortly after.
#4 Fabiola B. – May 11, 2017 – Age 37
Fabiola B. had been a career bartender of 20 years. She answered Dorado’s Craigslist ad for a special event job pouring wine. When she arrived for her interview at 5:30 p.m. she was surprised to find the restaurant closed. Dorado opened the door for her and poured her a glass of white wine from an open bottle. As she spoke with Dorado, he refilled her glass. A couple showed up and Dorado let them into the restaurant. He poured them red wine from a different bottle and poured Fabiola a third glass of wine. She had a very high tolerance for alcohol, but she immediately started feeling very intoxicated. She felt heavy, like she was glued to her seat. She had no control over her limbs and felt like her legs were going to give out. She described it as “like a weekend in Vegas.”
Dorado brought out food for the couple, but when she tried to eat, he took the food away from her before she could eat anything. The woman was concerned about Fabiola’s condition and urged her to stay at their house. She declined as she did not know them, and they left. Dorado then started to reveal personal details to her about his life and leaned close to her like he was going to kiss her. She crossed her arms in front of her and he pulled her bicep toward him. She was scared and started to cry. He laughed and told her she was so weak to not let someone comfort her. Then Dorado got angry and his nostrils started flaring. He told her to get out.
Although she felt really heavy, she was scared, and had a fight or flight feeling. She made it to her car but after driving for only a short distance, she pulled over and called Lyft. It was now after midnight. She does not remember getting home and the next morning when she woke up, she saw there were three trashcans full of vomit and multiple panties with urine on them. She had no memory of any of it. She had never done this before even as an experienced drinker. She did not report until April of 2018 after seeing the news.
Dorado testified he was only trying to console Fabiola and he did hug her. Overall, she was lying on many levels he countered. Attorney Youngquist brought out Fabiola worked Dorado’s gig the next day. How afraid was she?
#5 Marissa D. – June 30, 2017 – Age 39
Marissa D. was an accountant who had moved to San Diego to be near her daughter and was living at the La Jolla Biltmore Motel while looking for a more permanent place to live. On Friday night, June 30, 2017, Marissa ate dinner in her room and enjoyed two glasses of red wine. She did not have a lot of friends at the time and wanted someone to talk to, so she decided to walk down the street to Dorado’s restaurant. She arrived around 7:00 p.m. and he gave her the complimentary glass of champagne. She drank it and then ordered a glass of wine. Dorado brought her a plate of pasta with chicken which she did not order and told her, “You need to eat this.” She ate three fourths of the pasta and her memory became fuzzy right away. She ended up going with Dorado to Manhattan, a nearby establishment, but from the time at Manhattan she only had flashes of memory. She did remember a pink drink in a martini glass. It was not something she would order as she only drank wine, never hard alcohol. She started feeling very heavy. On the witness stand, Marissa admitted she was an alcoholic and was used to drinking a bottle of wine per day and three bottles on the weekend, but she had never felt like this.
Her next memory was of waking up in her motel room feeling like she was under anesthesia, had the flu, or was sick. She tried to stand but fell as her legs were shaky. She had shorts on backwards and her top was inside out. She always slept in a bra, but none was on. The room had been rifled through, her eyeglasses were broken, and she had a black eye. She had pain in her vagina and rectum and her nipples were sore. Even with her heavy drinking she had never blacked out before. She eventually got breakfast at McDonalds and then drank two glasses of wine as she felt confused and was trying to “forget that something had happened to her.” Inside she knew, but did not want to admit it. She called the police around 5:00 p.m.
She underwent a SART examination and they found injuries to her vagina and anus, an abrasion to her back and scraped knees. Dorado’s DNA was found on her external vaginal area and on her panties. Toxicology reports revealed dextromethorphan in her urine, an ingredient in cough medicine. Marissa testified she had not taken any cough medicine for months.
During a pretext call with Dorado, which was recorded by law enforcement, he was aggressive and denied having sex. At trial, he said Marissa was hugging and kissing him, asked him to go back to her room, and they had consensual sex. During his closing, Attorney Youngquist argued after a night of drinking many people misplace items and break things. He implored the jury to watch the surveillance video of Dorado and Marissa returning to her hotel. She placed her hands around his neck like an “amorous or flirtatious hug” and they walked up the stairs together he stated. He insisted the video showed a different story than the one portrayed as “there was conscious movement by this woman.” Youngquist then described sex as a contact act, “a bump and grind event,” which would account for the SART findings. All the sex was consensual he contended.
Dorado With An Unknown African American Woman at Manhattan
Three weeks after going to Manhattan with Marissa D., Dorado appeared with a beautiful African American woman who looked like she could be a model. The two sat at the piano bar and before the woman sat a pink drink in a martini glass. Detective Crumb had discussed Dorado with the owner, Nancy O’Donnell, and she was on the lookout should Dorado appear. When she saw him with the African American woman, O’Donnell took a photograph of the two sitting at the piano bar. She wanted a better photograph, so she asked the piano player to take a new one. He did and asked the woman for her contact information so he could text it to her. Dorado would not let her give her information, instead providing his own contact. When the woman walked by the hostess stand on her way to the restroom, O’Donnell asked her if she was okay. She said she was okay, but O’Donnell felt otherwise, describing her looking like a statute, a zombie, and lifeless. O’Donnell said she was “different” which Santini pounced upon on cross-examination, questioning if it was because she was black. “Absolutely not! And, I resent that,” retorted O’Donnell. After the couple left, O’Donnell kept the glasses and gave them to Detective Crumb. They were sent to the crime lab, but were broken somehow, and unable to be tested.
This African American woman was never located. When asked on the witness stand who she was, Dorado said he could not remember her name or where he met her.
#6 Tanya R. – December 22, 2017 – Age 43
Tanya R. was looking for a relationship, so she posted a Craigslist ad. Dorado reached out to her and they agreed to meet at the La Jolla Marriott where Dorado was staying while having work done on his house. When Tanya met him at the Marriott, he had a pink martini waiting for her. She told him she did not drink hard alcohol, but he told her to taste it because she might like it. She took a few sips but did not care for it, so Dorado ordered her champagne. He was pushy about her drinking the pink drink, but when she did not want it, would not drink it himself. She had two glasses of champagne and felt like her brain was not connected to her body. She felt frozen.
When Tanya first saw Dorado she immediately knew she was not attracted to him, but when he invited her up to his room, she agreed. She testified this was unusual for her. Inside the room he asked her to remove her clothes and she took off everything but her bra and panties. Again, she testified this was unusual for her. He asked for oral sex and she gave it to him. Then she was on her hands and knees and they started having sex from behind, but she kept saying, “I don’t really want this. I don’t really want this.” After repeating this five or six times, he finally stopped. In March of 2018, Tanya was on vacation in Hawaii and saw the news about Dorado and came forward.
On cross-examination, Tanya admitted she told a friend, “I did it again,” like the Brittany Spears’ song, “Oops…I Did it Again.” Further at the preliminary hearing, she testified she didn’t feel like a victim, but had just made a bad choice. At trial, Tanya explained she didn’t feel like a victim because she blamed herself, but after seeing the news story of other women she decided to come forward. Dorado testified he stopped as soon as she said she didn’t want this. Then they ordered cake and ate it together.
#7 Andrea M. – December 27, 2017 – Age 41
Andrea M. met Dorado when he reached out to her on Elite Singles. At the time, she was in Utah visiting her family for Christmas, but she agreed to meet Dorado the next day at the La Jolla Marriot. She drove from Utah, stopping at her place in Orange County briefly, before arriving at the Marriott. Dorado met her holding two cosmopolitans. They moved into the lobby where they ordered more cosmopolitans. Andrea believes she had three to four. As she had not eaten all day, Dorado suggested they move to the fire pit area to order food. They shared a shrimp Caesar salad and she had another drink. When she stood up, she fell, and Dorado and the staff helped her up. On the witness stand she testified they went up to Dorado’s room where she got sick and then watched television. She got sick again and then fell asleep. She had consensual sex with Dorado in the middle of the night and also in the morning. This testimony conflicted with her recorded interview where she said after she fell, she did not remember anything else until she woke up in a hotel room naked, with the bed covered in vomit. There was also vomit on the carpet and in the bathroom. She felt like she had had sex. She felt sick and it was her gut feeling she was drugged. It did not feel like a regular hangover.
Andrea began to see Dorado four to five times a week and had consensual sex with him three times. Their romantic relationship ended early on, but Dorado became her mentor and best friend. She gave him $20,000 for a new business venture and later tried to help him raise bail. He even promised to give her the baby she wanted so badly.
On March 28, 2018, a search warrant was served on Dorado’s home, and as Andrea had just left the residence, she was pulled over by police. She ended up going to police headquarters and gave a recorded interview, which was played for the jury. Although, later she would insist she was not a victim, during the interview she exclaimed, “Oh my God, this explains so much to me.” She also said, “We’ve been hanging out and doing stuff together, but somethings just not right with him.” When asked if she wanted to press charges, she said it was the right thing to do as she didn’t want this to happen to other people. She expressed her fear that if she reported, Dorado would ruin her business or harass her. Detective Demas told her Dorado was a legitimate predator and to protect herself. The police had her go to the Family Justice Center to file a restraining order. However, the next day, she sent an email to the detective and said she was scared to press charges and didn’t want to. She then became Dorado’s staunch supporter and declared on the witness stand, “I love him dearly and wouldn’t want anything to happen to him.”
On cross-examination, when asked if she felt like she had been drugged, she answered, “Definitely not.” Neither did she feel like she was a victim. In his closing, Attorney Youngquist stated that at the police headquarters Andrea was told Dorado was a predator and she was a victim. Outraged, Lundquist proclaimed, “This is the type of thing that should shake you to your core! Aren’t we all entitled to determine whether we’re a victim?”
#8 Nancy K – January 21, 2018 – Age 57
Nancy K. was looking to start dating after a 23-year marriage ended. Dorado contacted her on Elite Singles, and they began texting each other. In his profile Dorado mentioned his love of family and God and Nancy felt he had morals and values. She liked the attention Dorado paid her as it “felt sort of good to be pursued” as she hadn’t been pursued by her husband. Soon the two engaged in sexy text messages, with Dorado telling her he was a breast man and wanted her to send him a picture of her breasts. She sent him one but clothed. She felt curious, excited, and intrigued about meeting Dorado. She lived in Orange County and they agreed she would drive down. Dorado telling her they would eat at a La Jolla Cove restaurant in a corner booth. He told her not to wear panties, and that he would like to touch her.
On January 21, 2018, she drove to Dorado’s restaurant and was surprised to find it closed. He let her in and went into the kitchen and emerged with two cloudy red drinks in martini glasses. She wondered why he did not make the drinks at the bar. She drank three fourths of one and felt it was really strong and asked for water. Then she had another martini and felt extremely intoxicated, heavy, and dizzy. She decided she needed to eat so they left Dorado’s restaurant. Instead of going to the Cove, he drove to the Bahia where he had booked a hotel room the day before. In the car he opened a bottle of champagne and she took two sips from the bottle. At the Bahia, she felt like she couldn’t really walk on her own. Dorado held her arm and inside she ordered a chicken Caesar salad. She passed out and woke up to Dorado walking towards her with two pink drinks. She thought it was strange he was carrying them as they had a waitress.
Her next memory was of waking up naked in bed and seeing a naked Dorado eating a hamburger and watching television. She passed back out and awoke to him holding her head in a whiplash motion forcing oral copulation. She started to vomit, and he got a napkin and held it to her mouth. She passed back out and awoke to him straddling her with his penis in her mouth. She passed out again and woke up to him pulling the skin on her nipples with his mouth in a snapping motion. It hurt and she told him to stop, but he continued.
As she had promised her daughters, she would be home by a certain time, she knew she had to pull it together. She asked Dorado to order her some coffee, but he said it would take too long. She then asked for a diet coke. Dorado drove her back to her car, and she managed to make it home. She didn’t call the police as she was too embarrassed, ashamed, and blamed herself. She knew it was not consensual as in her 23-year marriage she had never orally copulated her husband. She also had some issues with incontinence and was wearing a pad, which she would have removed before having sex. The pad had blood on it, and she kept it in case she reported, which she did three weeks later. She took photographs of her injured breasts showing red marks and bruising.
On the witness stand, Dorado said he invited Nancy up to his room, she agreed, and she never said no to giving him oral sex. Her head was off the bed, so he used his hand to hold her head.
The Jury’s Verdict
On December 20, 2019, the jury of four women and eight men returned with a partial verdict. The jury found Daniel Dorado guilty of twenty felony counts: seven for Brandie, five for Yesenia, three for Andrea, and five for Nancy. When the first guilty verdict was read, Dorado looked a bit stunned. When the second guilty verdict was read, Dorado shook his head no. As the guilty verdicts continued, Dorado’s face began turning red. It was a long roll call of “Guiltys.”
At last, Dorado received a reprieve when Judge Rogers read the jury found him not guilty of all three counts for Tanya. They were deadlocked on all four counts for Sarah and two counts for Yesenia, so Judge Rogers declared a mistrial on those six counts. The jury also deadlocked on the greater charge for Fabiola, but indicated they could possibly reach a verdict on the lesser charge of simple assault. The five counts for Marissa were still at issue. The jury wanted to review the surveillance video from the hotel, but the video would not play. Judge Rogers ordered this to be remedied immediately. As the countdown was on for the Christmas holiday, Judge Rogers ordered the jury to return on December 30th to finish their deliberations on the remaining counts. Unfortunately, two of the jurors would not be able to return so the two alternates were sworn in.
Daniel Dorado dressed in his finest attire was taken into custody. He had spent the last two years out on bond, but his time of freedom was over. He would spend Christmas and most likely the rest of his life in prison.
After the Christmas holiday, the jury returned on December 30, 2019, to continue their deliberations. Unfortunately, deliberations started late and by court’s closing, were still not completed. The jury informed Judge Rogers they had not come to a decision. They needed additional time, but one juror could not return due to work commitments. As no alternates remained, Judge Rogers had no choice but to declared a mistrial on the remaining counts. However, one juror expressed the opinion even with additional time, they would not have been able to reach a verdict. What an unfortunate turn of events. It is too bad the original jury could not have completed all deliberations before the Christmas break so these types of problems would not have arisen.
Would the District Attorney Retry Dorado?
The prosecution was left with the decision of whether to retry Dorado on the 12 counts. A hearing was held on January 24, 2020, where Coto told Judge Rogers the prosecution would like Dorado to be sentenced on the 20 felony counts first, and then depending on the sentence, they would determine whether to retry him. Judge Rogers agreed and set a sentencing date for March 13, 2020. The Court noted the sentencing will be complicated as Penal Code Section 667.6 allows consecutive sentences and many of the counts qualify for full term punishment (rather than one-third of the mid-term punishment). Both sides will prepare motions on this issue. Coto stated that if the Court used the prosecution’s calculations, Dorado’s maximum time would be 56 years.