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January 29, 2014

Second Donah trial begins

Jury hears openings, witness testimony in State Trooper case

PLATTSBURGH — State Police began investigating Trooper Trevor J. Donah for possible abuse of an ex-girlfriend after a call from an uncle of the Plattsburgh man, who’s on trial for rape.

On the stand in Clinton County Court on Tuesday, Daniel Yando testified that he was trying to get psychological help for his nephew.

He described how, on visits to his home, Donah would use body locks on the woman, sometimes twisting her arm to the point that she would “scream out.” 

“I didn’t think it was normal behavior,” Yando said.

Under cross-examination, defense attorney Brian Barrett suggested the woman and Donah were playfully wrestling.

‘WANTED TO PROTECT HIM’

Donah, 33, is accused in this trial of first-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse, both felonies, and five misdemeanors: two counts of third-degree assault, two counts of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and one charge of second-degree unlawful imprisonment.

State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Senior Investigator Kevin Levine testified that in September 2012 Yando called him and said Donah had abused his girlfriend and needed help.

It was one day that month, after the couple had broken up, that the woman went to Donah’s apartment to return an item to him, special prosecutor Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Gary Pasqua said in opening statements Tuesday.

Donah tried to kiss her, Pasqua said, but she told him to stop, telling him she had a boyfriend.

Pasqua said Donah pushed his ex into the bedroom and onto the bed, pulling her underwear down and, despite her efforts to leave the apartment, raped her. 

She told no one what had happened, including police, because she loved Donah, wanted to protect him and, in some ways, was dependent on him, the ADA said.

‘WORDS ALONE’

Lorraine White, also an defense attorney for Donah, countered that in her opening statement, saying her client’s former girlfriend “did not handle rejection well.

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