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Molester who sparked protests dies

He was being treated for brain cancer in a Riverside County hospital jail ward.

June 16, 2007|Sara Lin | Times Staff Writer

A paroled child molester whose placement in a Mead Valley halfway house in 2005 ignited months of protests by local residents died Friday morning, most likely from brain cancer, while in a Riverside County hospital jail ward, authorities said.

David Allyn Dokich, 54, died at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, said Riverside County sheriff's spokesman Jerry Franchville. Dokich was being held in jail as he awaited trial to determine if he should be committed to a state mental facility as a sexually violent predator.

"I don't wish death on anyone, but he was a very dangerous man," said Riverside County Dist. Atty. Rod Pacheco.

Dokich was hospitalized in April after another Riverside County jail inmate beat him to near death, authorities said. The attacker repeatedly slammed Dokich's head against the jail's concrete floor. He was taken to Riverside County Regional Medical Center, where doctors discovered Dokich, who remained in a coma, had brain cancer, Pacheco said.

Dokich recovered from the attack but remained in the hospital while doctors treated his cancer, authorities said. Coroners will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Dokich was convicted in 1982 of raping a 15-year-old girl in his Dana Point apartment. He was on parole in 1985 when he befriended a 16-year-old Riverside County girl who worked at an ice cream store, kidnapped and raped her. A judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison. Pacheco, who prosecuted the Riverside County case, recalled Dokich's reaction to his sentence.

"He turned to the judge and yelled, 'The next time, I'll just kill her,' " Pacheco said. "There was no doubt in my mind that he was dangerous, especially to young girls."

Before Dokich's prison term expired, Pacheco said, he tried to have the man declared a sexually violent predator. But four psychiatrists were split on whether Dokich suffered from a diagnosable mental disorder that made him likely to engage in sexually violent criminal activity. He was released on parole in 2005 and moved to a halfway house near Perris.

Neighbors picketed his house for months, prompting county supervisors to approve an ordinance barring sex offenders from living near schools, parks or recreation centers and requiring them to wear electronic monitoring devices at all times. The county also established a multi-agency task force to closely monitor registered sex offenders.

Dokich was returned to prison in January 2006 after Riverside County sheriff's investigators tracked him to a pool hall and arcade frequented by girls -- a violation of his parole. Afterward, the district attorney's office again sought to have Dokich committed to a state mental facility, and he was transferred to a Riverside County jail to await trial a year later.

While the civil commitment proceeding was underway, Dokich was attacked. The district attorney's office could file murder charges against the inmate who beat Dokich if coroners determine the attack caused his death, Pacheco said.

"David Dokich has a family and served a significant amount of time in state prison," said Dokich's lawyer, Mary Ann Galante, a Riverside County supervising public defender. "It's a very tragic situation."

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sara.lin@latimes.com

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