I was finally able to arrange a meeting with Stephanie in September of 2005. Her knowledge of the events in question was limited to this: she had been at the Davis home in Avon on the evening of December 8th. She recalled that about 8:30-9:00 PM Sephora came in acting strangely, went upstairs to her room, changed her clothes and left. She was in the company of her girlfriend Mechal, who stayed downstairs and chatted while Sephora had gone upstairs. They had arrived in Mechal’s new car, a gold colored Dodge Neon, that remained parked in the driveway.
At first I was incredulous at this account. This would mean that Sephora had returned home a couple of hours after Harder had raped her and then left again with Mechal. I told Stephanie that she must have the wrong night, but she remembered that she had to go home early because she had a doctor’s appointment the next day, and she later confirmed this appointment with her doctor’s office.
Other members of the family who were there also remembered this event, once prompted. And Sephora’s father remembered talking to Mechal outside on the front porch, noting her new car that was parked in the driveway. He had thought he saw someone sitting in the car who did not come into the house and asked Mechal who it was.
She had replied: “Oh, it’s just my friend Lard.”
“Lard” was Eric Harder’s nickname.
This explained Sephora’s statements to me on the phone almost a year earlier that Harder “knew where she lived.” This was a characteristic difficulty: for whatever reason, whether it was because she had been sexually assaulted or because she is female or both, or some other reason, Sephora’s memory about all this was diffuse and impressionistic. She did not remember the fact of going home that night but she remembered what it meant to her.
Later in September of 2005 I received Judge Cicoria’s written decision on the motion for dismissal “in furtherance of justice”. It was denied, which was not surprising, not because it shouldn’t have been but because they’re never granted. It’s as if the statute authorizing them may as well not exist. Even so, I was extremely miffed that in noting that no “compelling factor” existed warranting such a dismissal under the statute involved, he neglected to mention that Sephora had been violently raped by one of her supposed accomplices. Just kind of forgot that part.
I don’t have that decision available.
Anyway, this cleared the way for a pretrial “Huntley” hearing to determine the admissibility of Sephora’s unsigned statement and it was scheduled for October 25th.