Valerie Taliman

Dawson Attacker Gets One Year in Jail, Three Years Probation

Valerie Taliman
February 22, 2013


At the February 21 sentencing hearing, Jennifer Davette Fraser, 29, was sentenced to serve one year in jail with 3 years formal probation, and to pay court fines and restitution to Patty Dawson for physical, emotional and financial injuries she caused when she attacked Dawson in June 2010.

Judge Arlan L. Harrel also issued Fraser a “stay-away order” from Dawson and her family, and included Fraser’s first husband and her first child in the order.

Fraser will serve an additional 265 days in jail, with credit for 73 served (36 actual days and 37 good credits under California law). Overcrowding is a major concern in California, and depending on behavior, Fraser may serve the full sentence or get an early release.

A restitution hearing has been set for May 23, 2013 to determine the economic losses to Dawson, including future expenses. In addition, Fraser has to pay court fines as yet to be determined.

After accepting and agreeing with recommendations in the probation report, Judge Harrel allowed 36 days of time served, and accepted letters of support from Dawson’s and Fraser’s family and friends.

The public defender asked the judge to release Fraser from jail because she was “needed at home to take care of her disabled elderly father” – the same man who in January after Fraser was found guilty allegedly threatened to shoot Dawson outside the court house.

Fraser’s attorney also pleaded for her release saying Children’s Protective Services had Fraser’s baby in care, and if she did not meet certain legal requirements by May, she could lose parental rights for her son.

The judge denied Fraser’s request to be released from jail.

Dawson then spoke, telling the court how hard her life was following the brutal assault.  She spoke of her physical and emotional pain, and how much her family had to endure as she “felt like a vegetable, numbed and unable to cope” or work.

Dawson requested that Fraser be sentenced to the full amount of time possible with no probation for the crime she committed.

“We all have a defining moment in our lives and maybe getting in trouble will be the defining moment for Fraser,” Dawson said. “Maybe this will be the best thing for Fraser’s children because then she can get the help she needs inside jail or prison.”

Dawson also told the court Fraser’s father threatened to shoot her outside the courtroom at the conclusion of the trial, and said she was once again traumatized by the threat.

According to Gloria Hernandez, Fresno Civil Rights organizer, Judge Harrel scolded Fraser for her lack of remorse, and failure to apologize to Dawson, who suffered a concussion, broken nose, crushed nasal passages, PTSD, and hip injury after Fraser attacked her. In court, Fraser said she had “road rage.”

Fraser apologized allegedly saying she was sorry that “Patty lost work time,” but then complained that she did, too, because she had to go to court for the case. She did not apologize for the serious bodily injury she inflicted on Dawson, and said she “never meant for things to go this far.”

Hernandez said Harrel said Fraser did not seem to grasp the pain she had caused Dawson, nor the seriousness of the crime, the vulnerability of the victim, or the physical and emotional impacts on Dawson, but that he had to follow the law.

During the sentencing, Harrel acknowledged letters from Dawson’s family and supporters who believed the attack was a hate crime, according to Hernandez Harrel said, “There was no self-defense or defense of others, despite what Fraser testified to. It was simply road rage. I have read the letters sent, and what others said about other crimes to individuals and other places in the country. But that is not before me.

“Fraser admitted in this court her road rage was because of her anger issues. Her children were never in danger. There was an adult woman and her spouse to protect them; her kids were never in danger. Nothing was heard today that changes this court’s view of circumstances.”

Fraser was then ordered back to jail to complete her sentence and programs imposed by CPS.