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Published: Wednesday, 6/16/2004

Lenawee court views video of nude tanners

BY GEORGE J. TANBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

ADRIAN - By any standard, the scene yesterday afternoon at the Lenawee County Courthouse was bizarre.

Three young women sat in Judge Harvey Koselka's circuit courtroom while 13 strangers - all of them jurors - watched videotape of them in the nude, apparently taken without their knowledge at a local tanning salon. One of them was 17 at the time of the taping.

Sitting nearby, rarely looking up from his paperwork, sat the accused, 47-year-old Danny Daulton, owner of Rock-N-Nails, a nail and tanning salon on South Main Street.

Mr. Daulton is charged with 16 felony counts of installing an eavesdropping device and divulging information obtained through eavesdropping.

He was arrested on Feb. 27 after an employee, Jennifer McNett, called Adrian police when she discovered an active video camera stored in a cassette tape player in the business's tanning room.

Police recovered one tape at the salon and four more in Mr. Daulton's garage. On them, Detective Sgt. Lynn Courington testified yesterday, were more than 30 people filmed while undressing in Mr. Daulton's tanning room.

Detective Courington said Ms. McNett helped him identify some of the victims on the videotapes.

A police request for photographs of customers brought in about 200 responses.

In all, 13 victims were located and agreed to testify; three of them were filmed more than once, leading to the 16 counts, Detective Courington explained.

In her opening remarks, Mr. Daulton's attorney, Judith Varga of Jackson, Mich., portrayed Mr. Daulton as a struggling businessman who had suffered numerous thefts of expensive nail supplies and had planted the camera to catch thieves.

She said Mr. Daulton placed two notices warning of camera surveil-

lance on the premises. But early on in yesterday's proceedings, Frank Riley, the county's chief assistant prosecutor, refuted both of Ms. Varga's contentions.

Detective Courington testified that the tanning-room cabinet that stored the nail supplies Ms. Varga said had gone missing on occasion was not visible in any of the videotapes.

And witness after witness, along with the salon's employees, said there were no warnings of any video cameras on the premises.

Ms. Varga never mentioned them again during a session that went until 4:30 p.m.

But she did get Ms. McNett to concede she had been suspicious of Mr. Daulton months earlier, that she had told friends of her concerns, and that she called police on at least two occasion.

Nine witnesses captured on the videotapes testified yesterday: eight women aged 18 to 36, and a 45-year-old male. All of them said they did not know they were being taped and that had they known, they would not have done business at Rock-N-Nails. Most of them said they tanned totally nude.

Late in the afternoon, Mr. Riley set up a television and showed tapes to only the jurors, the attorneys, and Judge Koselka that included the segments involving three of the victims. The courtroom turned silent. Some of the jurors appeared uncomfortable, as did the three women who remained in the courtroom but could not see the screen.

Outside, one of the women, Rochelle Avila, 23, said, "To me, it's embarrassing. I think it was sick of him to do it."

She said she was especially upset because she had taken her young daughter to the salon with her and had recommended the salon to her 13-year-old sister.

"That made it worse," she said.

Arguments will continue today. If found guilty, Mr.Daulton could serve two years in prison for each of the 16 charges on the first count.

Judge Koselka asked Mr. Riley to substantiate further the second count this morning before proceedings begin.

Contact George Tanber at:

gtanber@theblade.com

or 734-241-3610.



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