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Suspect Arraigned in Child’s Death; Judge Denies New Trial in Ellis

Yolo-Count-Court-Room-600Dorsey Declined to Enter Plea During His Initial Arraignment – Darnell Dorsey made his first appearance in court since his arrest on what is now developing into a homicide investigation.  He declined to enter a plea and is due back in court March 18, at which time he would enter a plea.

The next hearing, March 18, will be in Department 1 as the case was assigned to Judge Paul Richardson.  Bail is set at $1 million.

Mr. Dorsey, 21, faces three charges including child abuse resulting in death and two violations of probation from previously misdemeanor convictions.  However, police told the Vanguard that this case is now being investigated as a homicide.

On January 22, at 11:47 PM, in the parking lot of Dutch Bros. Coffee (located at the corner of Richards Boulevard and Olive Drive in Davis) a mother presented her 19-month-old child to an AMR ambulance crew for treatment. The patient was unresponsive and appeared seriously injured. He was transported to the UCD Medical Center for emergency care.

Davis Police were immediately called out and began an investigation. On January 23, officers arrested Darnell Dangelo Dorsey (a 21-year-old Sacramento man) for felony child endangerment and booked him into the Yolo County Jail. Dorsey is the mother’s boyfriend, and believed to be responsible for the victim’s injuries.

On January 25, at approximately 1:30 PM, the child victim succumbed to his injuries and passed away at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

As the Vanguard earlier reported, the Vanguard had learned of a two-year-old baby who was taken to Sutter Davis Hospital the night before, after being found unresponsive when the mother returned home from the gym.  The woman’s boyfriend, Darnell Dorsey, was home with the two children at the time when the incident occurred. The child was rushed to Sutter Davis Hospital where he had X-rays and a CAT scan done.

The baby’s grandmother told the Vanguard that the three-year-old sibling had said,”Daddy hit him in the head and he got sick.” The CAT scan revealed injuries conducive to what is known as “shaken baby syndrome.”

In the morning the baby’s grandmother was notified by her daughter, the mother of the toddler, that doctors said there was no blood flow to the baby’s brain. He remained on life support at the intensive care unit of UCD Hospital. The doctors also found damage to the baby’s bladder and other fractures around the body.

The family reported on Monday that the baby suffered from a lacerated liver, hemorrhaging to his brain and had broken ribs in various stages of healing from previous abuse.

Mr. Dorsey is being represented by private attorney Jessica Graves.

Antoinnette Borbon and Katherine Gonzales contributed to this report

Motion For New Trial in Ellis Denied

On Monday, Judge Stephen Mock denied defense attorney Joseph Gocke’s motion for a new trial in the case of Kevin Ellis, who was convicted of multiple counts of child molestation in a trial covered by the Vanguard.

The defense learned that a juror had been discussing the details of the case during trial.  A woman, who refers to herself as “Eagle Eye” on the Vanguard website, posted these details on the Vanguard and it came to the attention of the defense.

Eagle Eye would testify at a special hearing that she talked with the juror about the case, and that every day her neighbor/juror would come home rather upset and would give information about the trial in which she was a juror.

She stated that the juror had appeared to have already made up her mind once she heard testimony from the two young boys about being molested, and that the defendant Kevin Ellis was in fact guilty.

Judge Mock on Monday dissembled the testimony of the woman, Ms. Skinner, that she told to the public defender’s office investigator, Aaron Bohrer, that she was certain of the guilt of the defendant after the boy testified.

Judge Mock noted that the point in question was whether the woman knew immediately after the testimony, which could be construed as prejudgment, or whether looking back in hindsight, she felt that was the determining issue for her.

Judge Mock stated that he is skeptical of the conclusion that the juror prejudged evidence, as that would have required her to stop listening to an additional five days of evidence.

In her testimony she took meticulous notes of each witness and summarized their testimony.  The judge argued that in his experience, the fact that she might find the testimony emotional and important does not mean she stopped listening and turned off her mind to the remainder of evidence.

He viewed her comments more in a hindsight fashion, that, looking back, this was a hindsight assessment.  She had said, “I came into the case with an open mind, but all evidence led me towards guilt.”

Judge Mock looked into the defense’s cited case, Roberson v. City of Los Angeles. However, in that case, he argued, they had contemporaneous statements by all of the jurors of prejudice by the juror in question and the trial judge did not believe the juror’s testimony.

Judge Mock ruled that was not the case here and denied the motion for new trial.  Mr. Ellis is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday.

The Vanguard previously reported that Eagle Eye had testified that on one occasion Ms. Skinner was so upset from nightmares that she could not sleep. She stated she was told this by another neighbor.

But when the juror took the stand, it was somewhat of a different story. Ms. Skinner would tell that she only made mention a couple times and denied being that upset.  She went on to say that her neighbor was the one who would wait for her arrival and then ask questions about the trial. Ms. Skinner testified that she would try to avoid her as much as possible so she would not have to talk about the trial.

She stated that Eagle Eye had a bit of a fascination for court trials and liked to hear what was going on every day.

But Ms. Skinner did admit to giving her neighbor friend, Eagle Eye, a copy of the article in the paper about the trial she was a juror for.

Chief Investigator for the Public Defender’s office, Aaron Bohrer, had gone out to take the statement himself from Ms. Skinner and subpoenas were given to the two ladies.  He stated that Ms. Skinner did mention her neighbor/Eagle Eye being somewhat nosy.

Ms. Skinner stated on the stand that she felt she had been impartial and fair in her decision with the verdict and had not made up her mind earlier. However, she admitted that after hearing the boys’ testimonies she was upset.

Antoinnette Borbon contributed to this report

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About David Greenwald

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.


  1. Vanguard Editorial Board

    With deep respect to the mourning family, law enforcement, and the community, we at the Vanguard will endeavor to keep hurtful and/or inappropriate comments from being posted. We recognize that this is a tribulation for all involved. The Vanguard will work hard to exercise a standard of professionalism, while at the same time showing human compassion. When we have stories of great sadness to report, the Vanguard has a responsibility to try to be as ethical and moral as possible. If you see comments edited, please don’t take this as any kind of action against the commenter personally, nor as a reflection on the content of the comment, but rather as an effort to keep the discussion less personally intense, when involving a very difficult situation.

    • Vanguard Editorial Board

      Thank you for your understanding.

    • Yeah… that worked well for the families involved in the case of the deaths of two seniors in South Davis last spring.

    • Your editorial policy is not in my opinion professionalism but rather paternal Censorship. ACL says: “Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people (in this case it would be the Vanguard) succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. (I add news papers and blogs.) Once you allow the government to censor someone else, you cede to it the power to censor you, or something you like. Censorship is like poison gas: a powerful weapon that can harm you when the wind shifts. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional because freedom of speech is protected in the First Amendment, and is guaranteed to all Americans.” I ask why should new sources be an exception. Those who do not want to read a Vanguard comment can so do.

  2. Why does The Vanguard identify the juror involved by name and the “nosy,” complaining neighbor only by her Vanguard pseudonym, “Eagle Eye”? As in the earlier reporting, it seems like an odd practice.

    • The call was made by the reporter. The Vanguard needs to develop a policy for when people are named and when they aren’t. In this case, the reporter felt that since the poster on the Vanguard, who already goes by a psuedonym was merely a whistleblower that they ought to have their identity protected, whereas the juror is operating in a very different capacity with formal duties under the law. Again, if we had a set policy, we would not be having this discussion and I will bring it up at the next editorial board meeting.

  3. Why would anyone care what my real name is? It’s totally irrelevant to the fact established in court that the juror talked about the case with me and many other people, and received feedback/opinions from them about the testimony she disclosed. Getting feedback outside of court poisons a juror (in the words of a Sacto attorney).

    The real discussion should be about Mock’s ruling that it’s okay to talk about a case, whether the juror’s friends and neighbors want to hear about it or not, and whether it was legally appropriate for Mock to allow highly prejudicial testimony about Ellis’ conviction 15 years ago. Is it okay for the judge to make up his mind about guilt or innocence before he’s heard all the evidence himself, and make faulty rulings to get the result he personally wanted?

    Whether Ellis is guilty or not – the boys’ testimony had huge holes in it – he deserved a fair trial and he didn’t get it. Without money for an appellate attorney, he’ll probably die in prison, and we taxpayers pick up the tab.

    The mis-handling of this case destroys faith in the legal system. And we have to wonder why not one of 12 jurors questioned the appropriateness of prejudicial testimony about a case from 15 years ago.
    It might be a good idea for kids in junior high and high school to have classes in business law which cover a lot of ground and would better educate future jurors.

    • Nobody cares about who “eagle eye” really is.

      The issue here is the editorial policy of The Vanguard and how the Vanguard decided to describe two witnesses in an open trial–one by name and the other as a secret informer. Not once, but twice.

      Whether the editorial board will instruct David to identify the person providing evidence in court (you) is questionable. And, coming up with a policy about this specific kind of situation is fruitless since the situation is unique.

      However, the board should establish an editorial policy requiring review of all manuscripts so that this type of important judgment call isn’t left in the hands of a reporter alone in the future.

  4. Putting attention on the article above, the main issue was whether the juror talked to others and therefore received opinions and feedback outside the trial setting. It was established that it did occur.
    What happened then? Did Judge Mock and the public defender ignore this issue?
    The article above states that Gocke cited ONE case, and the case had only to do with a juror prejudging a case.
    How is it that Gocke only cited 1 case? Does the Vanguard intern have any info on such a strange thing?

    Perhaps public defenders and district attorneys should be paid considerably more and they could be hired from a wider pool of applicants. Gocke went to a law school that is ranked as I recall, 147 out of 150.
    Gorman has had his law license suspended 2 times; it appears he couldn’t make it in private practice so now he’s a deputy DA.
    If jurors were paid, say, $200/day, perhaps there would be a much broader group willing to be jurors.

    • “The article above states that Gocke cited ONE case, and the case had only to do with a juror prejudging a case.
      How is it that Gocke only cited 1 case? Does the Vanguard intern have any info on such a strange thing?”

      I don’t know that he cited one case, the Judge brought up that one case and discussed why it didn’t apply. I wrote the article today, I pulled from source material from the interns in doing so.

    • The last part of Eagle Eye’s comment is about who is paid what and the effect that has on attorney choice and judicial outcomes. There is no fix in the outcomes with the suggested increase of pay to DAs and jurors. Fairness in justice is about all alleged victims having incomes adequate enough to hire attorneys to represent them. This means all attorneys must compete for the jobs. It is the competitive element of capitalism that increases the quality of the product or (legal) service. Poverty is a social virus and the worst human kind has ever experienced. Fix that and justice maximizes.

  5. As much as I dully understand this site is open for public scrutny, I find it not only tasteless but classless to make perdonal digs on people. I know Joseph Gohke workef hard on the Ellis case but what I commend him most for is having the integrity to stand up for what is not only constitutionally right but morally too. I can’t say the same for. so many others. As for Rob Gorman, he may not have taken this or the issues with juror misconduct in the Bristow/Stearman case as seriously as he should have, but I don’t think bringing up someone’s.mistakes and/or past, serves any other purpose but to hurt feelings.

    As to imposing our own morals or agenda by disallowing comments, I have to disagree…we have to be very careful and respectful as these cases are still pending. But yes, I will agree, Daniel Marsh may not have gotten the same respect. We are working on a more consistent policy.

    Remember too; Not one of us is beyond reproach.

    I thank you kindly.

    • Antoinnette says we have to be careful and respectful because these cases are still pending. I disagree with that statement. Usually jurors are instructed to not read papers, watch TV or listen to radio news while judging a case. They are vetted during jury selection. I think no matter how sensitive or respectful a comment is, it could be a lie. There are people who are likely to wrap a lie in tissue paper thin rhetoric that some might call respectful. And those who are disrespectful are often so angered by the offense that they rap truth and facts in layers of anger and disrespectful words. It is not the duty of the Vanguard to ferret out what is respectful or truthful. To expand on the theme of truth and media, I offer the Woody Allen case. His daughter says he molested her. Because he is Woody Allen some are saying the daughter is being discredited. He married his step daughter. There are many nuances to the story. Should the media not have published it? I say freedom of speech says publish. By the way he was found not guilty some years ago.

  6. Was Ellis ever sentenced after all of this??

  7. True to some degree, Grassroots….but my main concern is comments that could be held against someone in a court of law. Yes, it is not our job to ferret comments for their truth/lie but no matter the situation I am of the opinion some things are better left unsaid, no matter the reason.

    I think lacking censcorship is a lot of what has gone wrobg with the world..but you and I obviously will never agree. I respect that..I answer to a different person and He is not of this world….Amen for that!

    No man or his/her human wisdom will ever change that….

    @ curious….have to find out his sentence. Busy with other cases. I apologize.

  8. Antoinette, no comment can just be introduced as fact into court. It must be verified. That is a pretty high horse you ride. You feel that you have been gifted to determine what should be censored. You humble me. And the One who is not of this world, the highest of Powers, gave free speech to all without censorship. Amen to that. I know your thoughts and words come from your deep care for others. I care too.

  9. ELLIS Case:
    One of the courthouse clerks told me Ellis was sentenced last Thursday to 20 years in prison.

    I appreciate Antoinnette’s observation that Gocke worked hard for Ellis, but when it came to Ellis getting a new trial due to juror misconduct, he could not have done LESS!

    Something wrong went on with this case. Maybe Gocke was threatened by the judge. Who knows what was going on, except that he did the VERY LEAST he could do re a new trial for juror misconduct.
    None the less, it was clear the juror talked about the case during the trial to several people.

    While it was technically misconduct, I believe the juror was simply confused about the instruction not to talk about the trial: she’s elderly and often confused. Really seems unethical for the DA to talk about arresting her in order to get false testimony, even though the false testimony could not overcome the evidence that juror misconduct had occurred.
    Does anyone know what’s up with Mock? Not justice.

    • It will be interesting to see what happens during appeal. My sense and I just saw the one hearing, Mock made up his mind he wasn’t going to throw out the verdict no matter what and Gocke got what he needed on the record for an appeal.

  10. Thanks David, I hadn’t heard there would be an appeal.

  11. True..Grassroots. We do try hard to only write what’s heard..nothing more, nothing less. But we are human and make mistakes..I apologize in advance. As for God giving free speech, yes He did but He also commands us to be modest. Although, I am in no way trying to persuade my is a rule I live by and not mine. It is up to David to decide what to edit, not me. He and I agree to disagree on some

    I was not trying to humble you…and hope you were not making a passive-aggressive comment? I’m not teying to offend or hurt anyone..and yes..I do care about each and every single life…it matters to me.

    I guess uf that means I ride a high horse..welll..not sure what to say to that…I’m no better than anyone else.

    I appreciate your feedback! :)

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