Dr. David K. Davoudlarian, testifying under insistent cross-examination yesterday, contradicted the testimony of more than a dozen witnesses who have testified in the trial of the civil suit that accuses him of strangling his wife.
Davoudlarian, a 49-year-old Annandale gynecologist, who began testifying in his own defense on Monday, appeared tired as he concluded more than 10 hours of testimony and his defense rested its case. A seven-member Fairfax County Circuit Court jury is expected to begin deliberating late today after hearing closing arguments.
Among the assertions Davoudlarian made on the witness stand yesterday that contradicted previous testimony was that he began making calls in an effort to locate his missing wife, Susan, on the afternoon of the day she disappeared in 1983.
More than half a dozen witnesses -- two of whom appeared for the defense -- have testified that it was between 10 a.m. and noon, rather than after noon, that Davoudlarian called them, inquiring if they knew where Susan Davoudlarian might be.
Yesterday Davoudlarian denied making the calls in the morning and said he didn't become concerned until the afternoon. He said he started calling about 2:30 p.m.
Davoudlarian denied during his testimony on Tuesday that he had killed his wife, whose nude body was found on June 12, 1983, wedged beneath the folded-down back seat of her station wagon, which was parked in the long-term lot at Dulles International Airport.
An affidavit filed with the court by Fairfax County police to support their request for a warrant later used to search the Davoudlarian home said investigators believed that Susan Davoudlarian had been killed at her home and her body driven to the airport.
No one has ever been charged with killing Mrs. Davoudlarian, 40, and the civil suit being tried was filed by her estate, seeking $10 million for her three children, two of whom are from a previous marriage.
Davoudlarian has testified that he last saw his wife early on the morning of June 4, 1983, in their bedroom shortly before he went to sleep.
He testified yesterday that between the time his wife disappeared and the finding of her body his attitude about her changed from one of concern to irritation.
"From concern I was going to miffed," he said. " . . . I was really getting a little bit irritated. She had left me and the children alone, and I really expected her to pick up the phone and call, even to call collect."
Peter Greenspun, one of the attorneys for the estate, noted that while his wife was missing Davoudlarian had taken his son to the zoo, on an overnight camping trip and twice to the movies and had purchased stock worth $23,000. Then Greenspun asked a series of questions centering on why the doctor had not done more to find his wife.
"I relied on the Fairfax County police and the FBI," Davoudlarian responded repeatedly. "They are the professionals."
Yesterday's courtroom session included an appearance by a surprise witness for the estate -- Doris Susong, who managed some property for the Davoudlarians.
Susong testified that two days after Susan Davoudlarian disappeared and six days before her body was found Davoudlarian told her of having problems with his wife and said she had left him.
Susong testified that she had recently leased some property she was managing for the Davoudlarians, and Davoudlarian called to say "he would be needing that property. I said, 'Well, I've already leased it.' He said, 'Well, I'm going to be needing it. Talk to the tenant and see what you can do. My wife and I have had some problems and she has left me.' "
When asked yesterday whether he had told that to Susong, Davoudlarian, who testified previously that his marriage was "very happy" and that he had no knowledge of his wife's desire for a divorce, answered, "No, I don't think so. There's no truth to that."
Pressing the cross-examination of Davoudlarian yesterday, Greenspun concentrated on contradictions in testimony.
Davoudlarian denied that he had prevented one of his stepdaughters and her boyfriend from cleaning up the master bedroom on the day of his wife's disappearance. Both testified last week that he had prevented them from cleaning it.
Davoudlarian testified yesterday that he knew his wife's station wagon was missing from their home the morning she was gone "because I looked from the family room to the garage at one point."
Greenspun then had read to the jury sworn testimony that Davoudlarian had given in pretrial depositions in which he said he "didn't notice" whether the vehicle was gone. "I didn't look to see."