A man charged with kidnapping and later sodomizing his ex-wife moments after she was granted a divorce has been ordered to face trial on the charges.
But whether or not David R. Coon, 37, can be tried on a forcible-sodomy charge has yet to be determined because of a question over when the couple officially became divorced.Coon's case made national news after questions were raised about Utah's rape statute, which indicates a person can be charged with rape or sodomy only if the perpetrator is not married to the victim.
After discovering that Utah was one of only four states where spousal rape was not covered by the criminal code, the 1991 Utah Legislature changed the statute to make rape within a marriage illegal.
But Debra Locke said she was kidnapped, raped twice and forced to perform a sex act with Coon on Nov. 5 when the old statute was in effect.
Locke testified Tuesday that she was granted a divorce from her husband of 13 years at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 5. The couple had been separated for three years. As she was waiting for her ride home outside the 3rd Circuit Court building, she said Coon offered her a ride.
Locke refused, but then Coon forced her into a car with two other men. "He said, `Get in the car or I'll kill you right here,' " she said.
Locke told 3rd Circuit Judge Floyd Gowans that Coon took $600 from her and later hit her in the mouth, causing her to bleed. "That's when he told me he'd have to kill me because they already had him down as escaping from the halfway house."
Coon is also charged with escaping from the Orange Street Correctional Center that morning.
Locke said Coon dropped the two other men off at different locations and then took her to his sister's house. There, she said he forced her to perform a sex act against her will. He later told her he was taking her to Las Vegas to marry her all over again. "He said I was going to die with his last name."
She also testified that Coon told her he had a gun with him and threatened as many as 15 times to kill her. She said he raped her off of the freeway near Lehi and Santaquin, Utah County, and also kicked her in the ribs while he was wearing cowboy boots.
During one of the stops Locke called her daughter, who realized that Coon was with her and notified police. A bulletin to other officers in the state was issued and Utah Highway Patrol troopers located them at a rest stop in Millard County.
Coon's defense attorney, Kevin Kurumada, quizzed Locke about the numerous people she ran into during the 11-hour ordeal and asked why she had not gone to any of them for help. Locke said she never felt she had a chance to safely get away because Coon was always holding her or was very close by.
Kurumada asked the judge to dismiss the forcible-sodomy charge since the divorce papers were not signed until Nov. 8, three days after the incidents allegedly occurred. "As a matter of law, I don't think there can be any question," he said.
The divorce papers indicate that 3rd District Judge Richard Moffat signed the papers "such to be retroactive to the day of the hearing and final upon entry." But Gowans said such wording is ambiguous.
"I don't know what that means," the judge said. "You're going to have to have a hearing on the matter to determine what he (Moffat) meant."
But despite the question, Gowans said there was probable cause to believe Coon committed the charges of aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy and escape and ordered him bound over to district court. Coon will be arraigned before 3rd District Judge Dennis Frederick on March 25.