A man whose ex-wife says he kidnapped her from the courthouse steps where she had just been granted a divorce has been charged with aggravated kidnapping and forcible sodomy.
David R. Coon, 37, was charged Thursday in 3rd Circuit Court with the two first-degree felonies. He is serving time at the Utah State Prison for a parole violation and is being held on the new charges without bail.Debra Locke told the Deseret News that on Nov. 5, Coon escaped from the Orange Street Community Correctional Center to attend a 3rd District Court hearing in which she was asking for a divorce from her husband of 13 years. They had been separated for three years.
Despite Coon's protests at the hearing, Judge Richard Moffat granted the divorce.
Locke said she felt very relieved, but as she walked out of the courthouse, Coon was waiting for her. She said he came up behind her and forced her into her vehicle. "He said, `Get in the car, or I'll kill you right here.' "
According to court documents, Coon took her to her daughter's house, where he forced her to commit a sex act. He repeatedly told her he would kill her and also hit her in the mouth and kicked her in the ribs.
Locke said Coon raped her several times and told her he was taking her to Las Vegas to marry her all over again, saying he wanted her to die with his last name. Salt Lake police issued a bulletin to other officers in the state, and the two were finally located about 11 hours later at a rest stop in Millard County.
Locke's story made national news after questions were raised about a legal technicality.
Utah law says a person can only be charged with rape if the rapist is not married to the victim. Although the judge verbally declared the couple divorced that morning, the decree was not prepared at that time and was not signed until hours after the incidents occurred.
But Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Kim Hornack said it is the prosecution's contention that Locke was officially divorced from Coon when he kidnapped her. It is under that belief that they filed the forcible sodomy charge.
She said no rape charges were filed primarily because of jurisdiction. "He didn't actually rape her until they got out of Salt Lake County," Hornack said.
Coon also has been charged with escape, a second-degree felony, and for walking away from the halfway house on Nov. 5. He had been sentenced to a term of one to 15 years for the 1987 possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, according to court documents.
Two bills have been filed for next month's legislative session that could change Utah's rape statute.
One bill states that anyone who has sexual intercourse with another person without that person's consent can be charged with rape - regardless of whether they are married.
Another bill defines a new criminal offense of "spousal rape." That bill states that a person could be charged with spousal rape if he or she has sexual intercourse with the spouse against his or her will if they are no longer living together or are legally separated.