A Daughter’s Crusade

With her father languishing behind bars, one of his daughters, Donna Bohana, a successful realtor in Malibu, and throughout the affluent areas of California, knew without any doubt that  he was innocent and started reviewing the case. She hired an investigator and soon found evidence that cast serious doubt on her father’s conviction.

Dr. Posey: A “Fraud”

Donna Bohana discovered news stories that revealed that even as prosecutors were relying on Dr. David Posey to help indict her father, Donald Bohana, another Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor, Stephen Kay, in another murder case, was labeling him a “fraud.”

Now retired, Stephen Kay was a veteran prosecutor and widely respected. He investigated David Posey’s background before he testified as a private consultant for the defense in a 1996 murder trial. Kay discovered that Posey was a hospital pathologist with limited experience as a coroner in criminal cases  Posey had worked part-time for the L.A. County coroner’s office for far less than a year.

“He just dabbled in autopsies,” Kay said.

Kay said he would have told Lori Jones, the deputy district attorney investigating Donald J Bohana about Posey’s lack of qualifications, but he was never asked.

Lori Jones later told 20/20 that she did not remember hearing anything negative about Posey at that time. Asked if hearing about it now concerned her, Jones said, “Sure, it would concern me, but it’s not causing me to lose confidence in the outcome.”

Lie Detector Test

In October 1997, Donald J. Bohana took a polygraph test about the case. He scored a 99.99 NDI (no deception indicated) score even as he continued to maintain that Delores “Dee Dee” Jackson had died in a swimming accident.

Bohana’s attorneys, Bruce Zucker and then Thomas Nolan, offered to have Donald Bohana take another lie detector test using the examiner of the DA’s choice. The DA refused the offers.

A Bankruptcy Vanishes

Donna Bohana discovered that David Posey had filed for bankruptcy, yet filed false schedules—a form of perjury. However, the day before Posey testified on June 17, 1998, Posey’s bankruptcy discharge was filed. The next day, the 18th, he started testifying about his changed conclusion about Delores “Dee Dee” Jackson’s death from “undetermined” or accidental to “homicide-assisted drowning.”

During the criminal trial, Posey was set to serve as a paid expert in the civil wrongful death suit the Jacksons had filed against Donald Bohana.

Jackson Attorney Speaking to Jurors

The trial transcripts show that Brian Oxman, the Jackson family attorney, was present at Donald J. Bohana’s trial. It appears that Oxman spoke to jurors during the trial, which is strictly forbidden. The judge appeared to see Oxman talking with jurors and warned the district attorney’s prosecutor Patricia Titus not to allow Oxman to talk with jurors. Titus denied that Oxman had talked with any jurors.

Posey on 20/20

David Posey testified at Bohana’s trial that he had always suspected that Dee Dee Jackson’s death was a homicide. He said he changed his opinion from “undetermined” to “homicide” based on:

  • Visits to Bohana’s pool
  • Posey’s lifeguard experience
  • Someone in the district attorney’s office told him that they had an expert who confirmed his opinion that Delores “Dee Dee” Jackson’s death was a homicide      

On the stand, however, Posey admitted that he had never spoken to that expert nor read his report before changing that opinion. Why did he change his conclusion? Was it related to his bankruptcy suddenly vanishing? What did he mean by “I got a call from Lori Jones” mentioned in the transcripts?

When 20/20 sought to interview Posey about the case, he at first did not respond to their numerous requests and then, when questioned on the street near his home, said he did not remember the case.

Seeking Freedom and Justice

In 2002, Donald J. Bohana appealed his conviction on the grounds that Harland Braun had provided ineffective counsel. An appeals judge ruled that Braun’s trial strategy was “reasonable” and rejected the appeal.

Donald J. Bohana has been denied parole four times. The first parole denial was on March 23, 2007. The most recent was March 28, 2019.