Former San Francisco 49er Dana Stubblefield convicted of raping 'developmentally disabled woman' at gunpoint
A retired NFL player who joined the San Francisco 49ers in the 1993 football season, Dana Stubblefield, was convicted of rape. After a nine-month trial, on Monday, July 27, he was found guilty of rape by force, oral copulation by force, and false imprisonment. Stubblefield was accused of luring "a developmentally disabled woman to his home" in Morgan Hill, California, on April 9, 2015, under the pretext of offering the victim a babysitter job interview. Stubblefield gave her $80 after allegedly raping her and before letting her leave his house. The unidentified victim, who was aged 31 at the time, reported the crime to Morgan Hill Police immediately after she was raped. She was initially contacted by Stubblefield via a babysitter hiring website. DNA evidence matched that of Stubblefield. Despite the former athlete was found not guilty of charges such as the rape of a person incapable of giving consent, and oral copulation of a person incapable of giving consent, he faces 15 years to life in prison. During the sexual assault, he was also found to have used a gun. He is currently being held without bail as he awaits his sentencing.
"This was a triumph of resilience. The victim has struggled her whole life with learning disabilities and challenges to be self-sufficient. If we are not fighting for her, then who are we fighting for?" said District Attorney Jeff Rosen in a press release. "It has been a long road for this remarkable woman and we are thankful to the jury for providing her some closure and, for our community, justice after an unconscionable and violent crime."
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Stubblefield's lawyers will seek a new trial for their client after arguing that the said assault was in reality a "paid encounter for sex." However, his team was precluded from showing the jury concrete evidence that would have proved their claim. Allen Sawyer, Stubblefield's attorney, said he "firmly believes" his client is innocent adding that Stubblefield did not receive a fair trial due to Covid-19 that inhibited the process. "It was very difficult for jurors to try to recall what evidence was presented months ago," Sawyer told CNN Monday. "The jury was in panel in January and it stopped for two months because of COVID, then it stopped again for weeks on time."
He added: "There's a lot of information that we have that the jury was not allowed to have that we think would have been impactful to their decision. We expect to keep fighting for Mr. Stubblefield's innocence. We will clear his name, and we look forward to fighting this out in the courts. This is just the first battle.''
Commenting on Stubblefield's state of mind, Sawyer said it's a "very difficult time" for his client and his family but he is "resilient." He was named to the NFL All-Pro team from 1994 through 1997, after which he spent the next three seasons with Washington, then played two more years with the 49ers. Before retiring at the start of the 2004 season, Stubblefield played a final season with the Raiders.