Various mugshots show Nampa murder suspect David Dalrymple, who has been in prison since 2004 after being convicted of abusing three women and sexually abusing one girl. | Idaho Statesman
Editor’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions that may be upsetting to some readers.
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — By age 47, David Allen Dalrymple had been convicted of violently abusing three women and sexually abusing one girl.
Since then, he’s been accused of abusing at least two other girls, though he was never charged in those cases, Canyon County authorities say.
Those females were all victimized, however, after the crime that has Dalrymple’s name in the news: the rape and killing of 9-year-old Daralyn Johnson. Daralyn was abducted in 1982 in Nampa, but Dalrymple was just named as the suspect in her brutal death this month.
The wrong man — Charles Fain — sat on death row for 18 years before he was exonerated in 2001. While Fain sat in prison, Dalrymple was committing multiple misdemeanors, narrowly avoiding the state penitentiary. In 2004, after Fain was released, Dalrymple was convicted of his first felonies, including kidnapping and sexual abuse. The Ada County judge who sentenced him said in court that Dalrymple was beyond hope for rehabilitation.
The cases that landed him in prison did not reflect his first felony charge. He was charged in 1991 in Ada County on suspicion of aggravated assault for choking a woman until she lost consciousness, according to court records. The charge was later amended down to misdemeanor battery.
SO WHO IS DAVID DALRYMPLE?
The suspect in Daralyn’s killing has a criminal history and repeated defiance of court protection orders, which outline his pattern of behavior toward females.
The Idaho Statesman requested copies of law enforcement reports and court records in Dalrymple’s previous cases, spreading across three Idaho counties and dating back to 1990. All of his victims were women or girls. All of his cases reflected violent tendencies. (The Statesman eliminated charges that were dismissed and did not include charges before 1990, which are not available through a public search.)
Dalrymple spent much of his adult life in and out of police custody, dating to the 1980s. From accessible public records, some of his history is as follows:
In 1990, Dalrymple was cited for misdemeanor domestic battery in Ada County. He was accused of dragging a woman by her hair, beating her and telling her she deserved to be killed.
In 1991, he was charged in Ada County on suspected aggravated assault for allegedly choking a woman until she lost consciousness. The charge was later amended down to misdemeanor battery.
In 1996, he was cited by the Nampa Police Department for violating a domestic protection order and resisting arrest. A copy of the citation did not identify the victim.
In 1996, he was cited for misdemeanor malicious injury to property in Ada County.
In 2000, he violated a protection order in Adams County that a woman had in place after a battery case. The battery charge was later dismissed, but he pleaded guilty to violating the order.
Between 2000 and 2003, he was accused of sexually abusing a girl between the ages of 8 and 11. He was sentenced for that abuse in 2004.
In 2003, he kidnapped a woman and her child. He was sentenced for that in 2004 as well.
On Oct. 29, 2004, he was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in Ada County on kidnapping, lewd conduct and sexual abuse convictions. He was 47 years old.
THE VOICES OF HIS VICTIMS
The Statesman found that at least three women had protection orders against Dalrymple at some point.
Protection orders are generally put in place by a judge when a person fears for their safety from a domestic partner or previous partner. No contact orders can be put in place when a criminal case is pending.
A copy of the incident report from the 1990 domestic battery case details allegations against Dalrymple. The victim wrote in her statement to authorities that “he was yelling and telling me I deserved to be killed and all he would have to do was bury me in the pasture.”
She claimed that Dalrymple punched her, kicked her and picked her up by her hair, slamming her against a wall.
Dalrymple kidnapped a woman and her child, handcuffing and dragging the woman, according to court records. He repeatedly sexually abused the child over several years. Documents state that Dalrymple would handcuff and tie up the girl with rope at times.
The Statesman obtained a copy of the transcript from Dalrymple’s sentencing. The prosecution outlined evaluations done of him, including that authorities and experts described him as a sexual deviant with antisocial personality disorder.
The prosecution noted Dalrymple’s excessive sense of self-worth, superiority and cockiness during court proceedings. Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Jean Fisher said during his 2004 sentencing that Dalrymple was high-risk because he has “intimacy deficits,” “sexual self-regulation deficits” and “attitudes supportive of sexual offending.”
The prosecution and the judge focused on Dalrymple’s lack of accountability and repeated attempts to contact his victims, while the defense attorney focused on his use of methamphetamine at the time and his lack of prior felony convictions.
Before ordering Dalrymple to spend decades in prison, 4th Judicial District Judge Michael McLaughlin said, according to a copy of the transcript: “I can’t find there is any hope now — and I submit into the future — that you’re going to be rehabilitated, because you didn’t do anything in your mind. And I find that that is a total and complete fabrication and rationalization on your part.”
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for first-degree kidnapping, 10 years for second-degree kidnapping, 15 years for sexual abuse of a child younger than age 16 and 20 years to life for lewd conduct with a child younger than age 16. Those sentences were to be served concurrently. His earliest eligibility for parole after those convictions would be Dec. 11, 2023, according to an IDOC spokesperson.
Now 62, Dalrymple has spent more than 15 years incarcerated. All of his appeals have been unsuccessful. He has tried repeatedly to claim that he hypnotized his sexual abuse victim into believing she was molested, but that she was never abused.
On Friday, Fisher told the Statesman in an interview that she remembers the 2004 case, but her office was not involved in the investigation into Daralyn’s 1982 killing.
Fisher has prosecuted hundreds, if not thousands, of domestic violence and sexual abuse cases, and she said she was not surprised to hear that Dalrymple could have multiple victims.
“It’s very rare for someone who is a sex offender to just have one victim,” she said. “What’s more unusual (about Dalrymple) is the level of how serious each one of them was. He engages in much more of a sense of terrorizing behavior.”
In the 2004 case, Fisher said Dalrymple repeatedly violated no-contact orders, even going so far as to ask jail inmates out on bond to contact his victims. She thought Dalrymple’s claim that he hypnotized the victim into believing she was molested was especially egregious.
“He created a whole different excuse for why this happened,” Fisher said. “He wasn’t just saying she lied. It was particularly cruel. Because then she can’t help but walk away and say, ‘Am I crazy? Did this happen?’”
All felony offenders, including sex offenders, are required to submit a DNA profile to the state database. As of May 7, the Idaho State Police had 56,913 offender profiles in the Idaho DNA database — all collected from convicted felons, which Dalrymple became three years after Fain’s release.
In 2013, the Idaho Department of Correction began implementing a policy in which it would swab all new, incoming offenders for a DNA sample. Felons who’d been incarcerated before 2013 might not be in the database. But should they come up for parole, they would be required to submit a DNA sample.
Because Dalrymple was imprisoned in 2004, it’s unclear whether his DNA is in the database.
But because Dalrymple was convicted of sex crimes, he would have had to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison. And when registering in Idaho, all sex offenders are required to submit DNA samples.
On May 14, IDOC spokesperson Jeff Ray said, “We have sampled everyone who was sentenced prior to 2013.”
BREAKING DOWN OFFENDER DNA PROFILES
Felony offender DNA profiles are STR profiles — standing for short tandem repeats, according to Idaho State Police Forensic Services Director Matthew Gamette. STR profiles look at how many times a sequence of DNA repeats. Every person gets a certain number of markers from their mother and a certain number from their father. When looking at 22 markers, you won’t find any two individuals in the world with the same sequence, Gamette said — with the exception of identical twins.
However, a lab in California used a single nucleotide polymorphismsan, or SNP profile, to identify Dalrymple in Daralyn’s case, not an STR profile. That means that even if Dalrymple had submitted a standard STR profile to the state upon his first felony conviction, it would not have helped link him to the 9-year-old Nampa girl’s killing.
The Idaho State Police lab does not have the technology to put together an SNP profile.
“That’s why this was a dead end I think” for Idaho authorities and labs, said Ed Green, who runs a lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz that did the final DNA work on Daralyn’s case.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF DNA PROFILES
The state’s DNA profiles are not comparable to what could be found in evidence on Daralyn Johnson’s body. It was not possible to get an STR profile from a hair without the hair’s root, Green said. So Canyon County authorities turned to his lab for assistance identifying a suspect with the final pubic hair they had in evidence from the Nampa girl’s case.
When examining the hair, Green’s lab developed the SNP profile to identify a certain stretch of DNA. The lab created a genotype file and later used a comparison with a close maternal relative of Dalrymple’s to point police in the right direction.
Green’s lab also was able to discover that the hair found on Daralyn had a Y chromosome, meaning it belonged to a man. Police used all of the information to track down Dalrymple.
The UC Santa Cruz lab’s technology has been able to use new methods for about a year or two, Green said.
“Now there is this fantastic technology that lets you sequence the DNA directly from the fragments that are in hair, but those fragments are short,” Green explained. “Too short to be useful in the STR assay. We can get plenty of DNA out. We can potentially get the entire genome from the DNA recovered from a single piece of hair, but the STR assay requires pieces of DNA in longer fragments.”
Greg Hampikian, co-director of the Idaho Innocence Project and a Boise State professor, helped direct law enforcement to Green’s lab in an effort to help further clear Fain’s name and identify the real suspect.
Hampikian also said there is new technology available now that can pull out some STRs from hair.
Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue speaks in Caldwell at a news conference about the new suspect in the 1982 killing of Daralyn Johnson. | Katherine Jones, Idaho Statesman
ELIMINATION AND A DNA MATCH
Armed with DNA evidence, detectives had to eliminate some of Dalrymple’s siblings, based on age and where they were living when Daralyn was abducted. Dalrymple’s two sisters were immediately eliminated because the hair belonged to a male.
According to a probable cause affidavit, detectives asked David Dalrymple to give them a sample for DNA testing and he refused, so they got a warrant and attempted to execute it on March 12. The affidavit states that “Dalrymple refused to comply and a subsequent use of force detention order was obtained.”
Police then obtained the DNA sample and sent it to Green. On April 30, police received a report stating that it was Green’s conclusion that the DNA sample from Dalrymple was genetically identical to the pubic hair found on Daralyn Johnson’s body.
When the Santa Cruz lab initially put together the DNA profile for authorities, Green did not know anything at all about the suspect, he said. His lab, part of a public university, doesn’t have access to any FBI databases and doesn’t do police work, so he found out about Dalrymple the same time the public did, on May 4.
Discussing DNA, Hampikian noted that Fain was acquitted by the use of mitochondrial DNA, which is found in hair. He was convicted in 1983 using a now discredited technique the FBI used to match hair colors, Hampikian said.
The Idaho Innocence Project founder also said that since about 2012, his lab had helped Canyon County authorities eliminate roughly a dozen suspects in Daralyn’s case through DNA testing. These were samples of hair brought to Hampikian’s lab from people the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office thought might be suspects.
Dalrymple remains incarcerated at the Idaho State Correctional Institution. The Canyon County warrant for murder and rape in Daralyn’s case has not yet been served. That probably will happen in late summer, officials said, largely because correctional facilities are trying to limit the number of inmate transports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though his next court date has not been set, Dalrymple is not eligible for parole or bond, so he’s not going anywhere.
He has four known victims and two possible young victims, aside from Daralyn. That’s seven people. Authorities have said they don’t think that’s the extent of it.
“We believe other victims are out there,” Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue said during the press conference in early May announcing Dalrymple as the cold-case suspect.
Authorities have asked anyone who might have information to contact the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers, at (208) 343-COPS(2677).