Cambria sexual assault case ends with disputed verdict

Ilan Funke-Bilu

By KAREN VELIE

A Cambria man accused of sexual assault was found guilty on Friday of three lesser charges, of which the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office and the defendant’s attorney do not agree.

In 2017, the district attorney’s office charged Herbert Connor, 72, with three felony counts – sexual assault with the intention of committing rape, sexual battery, and sexual assault – regarding the groping and restraint of a 67-year-old Cambria woman. If convicted of the three felony counts, Connor faced seven years in prison.

The jury, composed of eight women and four men, instead found Connor guilty of misdemeanor charges of sexual assault and sexual battery, and a “wobbler” charge of sexual battery by restraint. A “wobbler” is a crime that can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

District Attorney Dan Dow

During the trial, District Attorney Dan Dow and Connor’s attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu rarely agreed. Shortly after the verdict was rendered, the district attorney’s office announced in a press release that Connor is facing four years in prison for a felony sexual battery by restraint conviction, and six months each for the two misdemeanor convictions.

Funke-Bilu found the district attorney’s determinations faulty. Because the jury forms did not describe the sexual battery by restraint charge as a felony, the court should determine it was a misdemeanor, Funke-Bilu said.

Sitting in for Dow during the reading of the verdict, Deputy District Attorney Michael Frye sought to have Connor taken into custody and booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail until his sentencing. Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy denied Frye’s request.

As for the two remaining misdemeanors, because the convictions did not follow the required timeline, the convictions should be acquitted, Funke-Bilu said. During the sentencing hearing, Dow and Funke-Bilu will argue their points.

Throughout the case, Funke-Bilu accused Dow of wrongdoing including prosecuting the case for political reasons, trivializing reasonable doubt in his questioning of prospective jurors, and withholding DNA evidence.

Connor’s sentencing is scheduled for March 20.

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2 Comments about “Cambria sexual assault case ends with disputed verdict”

  1. Keri says:

    Not surprised, as none of the Deputy DA’s including his own hand picked #2 man would file, can wait to see the hearing on the 20th, most of his own Deputies at lunch this week thought he really screwed up on this one too.

    Two of his long emails to a local reporter were intercepted where he is trying to pressure the reporter to change the content of these stories on this case . I call that obstruction of Justice. Dan should know his email are not so safe many of his communications get leaked out.

    1. Maven says:

      Scott, you are not too bright. Emails to reporters have nothing to do with “Obstruction of Justice”. He most likely was trying to get the reporter to report BOTH sides of the story and give the reporter the facts. You really need to change your line as everything you make up has the line “at lunch” in it. You just sit around and the DDA’s, jury members, and defense attorneys spill their guts to you at luch eh? ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!

      Wait until the hearing, then come back on here and admit you were wrong.

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