Circumstances surrounding the strangulation of the wife of Annandale gynecologist David K. Davoudlarian were outlined yesterday for the jury that will decide an unusual civil suit in which Davoudlarian is accused of the killing.
Susan Davoudlarian, the doctor's 40-year-old wife, was found strangled on June 12, 1983, in her station wagon parked in the long-term lot at Dulles International Airport. She had disappeared eight days earlier.
No one has been charged in the killing, and Davoudlarian, 49, has denied under oath knowing who killed her.
Thomas J. Lyons, a homicide investigator, testified yesterday that the day Susan Davoudlarian's body was found the doctor was informed of his rights, interrogated and accused by police of killing her. Since that night, Davoudlarian has refused to answer police questions, Lyons said.
The suit being tried in Fairfax Circuit Court was filed by Mrs. Davoudlarian's estate and seeks $10 million in damages. A second civil suit has been filed by Davoudlarian's two stepdaughters, Susan S. Rooney, 20, and Claire E. Rooney, 19, Susan Davoudlarian's daughters from a previous marriage.
In a 90-minute opening statement to the jury and a standing-room-only courtroom filled with neighbors, lawyers, court employes and other spectators, attorney Stanley P. Klein described circumstances that he said he was "confident" will convince the jurors that the doctor killed his wife:
* Because the station wagon in which Mrs. Davoudlarian was found had been inspected the last afternoon she was seen alive and the mileage recorded, the FBI has been able to account for all the mileage except that which the car would have traveled on a single trip from her home to the airport.
* The night his wife disappeared, Davoudlarian told the boyfriend of one of his stepdaughters he could not spend the night -- something the doctor had never done before.
* An autopsy showed Mrs. Davoudlarian was strangled from behind and could have died without making any noise. Police have said they believe that she was killed at home, where three children were sleeping at the time.
* The doctor had what Klein called an "embarrassing and humiliating temper."
* Mrs. Davoudlarian was so unhappy in her marriage she "looked outside it for some comfort," having at least two affairs.
Klein said that during the days between the time Mrs. Davoudlarian disappeared and the discovery of her body, her husband went about "business as usual" -- taking his son camping and to the zoo, purchasing $31,000 worth of stock and discussing a computer deal with a neighbor.
Jack Rhoades, one of the doctor's attorneys, began his opening statement to the jury: "I hope your ears are not worn out by Mr. Klein's dissertation."
"Someone killed Susan Davoudlarian," Rhoades said, "but the evidence will show that it was not David Davoudlarian." He said there was "a glaring omission in the facts laid out by Klein . . . . There is no way the doctor could have gotten her to Dulles Airport and gotten back to his house."
He said the FBI analysis of the mileage on the station wagon included a second estimate, which had four "unaccounted for" miles in it.
Rhoades called Mrs. Davoudlarian "deceitful" and "a promiscuous woman" who, because of her affairs, "had entered into a life style that was destined to bring her into harm's way."
Because of the complexity and length of the trial, which is expected to last three weeks, Judge Lewis H. Griffith yesterday took the unusual step of handing out pads and pens to the nine jurors so they could take notes. Jurors are normally told they must rely on "their collective recollection."