Former gay-porn star convicted of trying to kill girlfriend

Sep 21 2011 - 11:04pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A gay pornographic film star from the 1990s is likely headed to prison for trying to kill his girlfriend in Sacramento two years ago.

Marc Anthony Donais, a onetime Playgirl centerfold who later acted under the name Ryan Idol, was convicted of attempted murder Tuesday for beating the woman over the head with a porcelain toilet tank lid.

She testified he attacked her in her in-laws' apartment in east Sacramento because she broke up with him. He said it was self-defense.

Deputy District Attorney Kevin Jones said the Sept. 5, 2009, attack resulted from long-standing jealousy on Donais' part -- despite his testimony that he never worried about his girlfriend wanting sex from other men "because ours was so great."

"I think the jury was able to recognize that his narcissism and ego basically led him to where he was," Jones said.

Donais faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when he next sees Sacramento Superior Court Judge Troy L. Nunley. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 9.

The jailed, 45-year-old defendant declined to be interviewed Wednesday.

"Obviously, he's extremely disappointed," said his attorney, Johnny Griffin III. "He was devastated by the jury's verdict. He believes his behavior was in self-defense."

An Internet search showed several references to Donais' career as a model and as a gay pornographic film star.

His February 1989 appearance as a Playgirl centerfold propelled him into the gay adult film industry in which he took on the name Ryan Idol. He starred in eight pictures between 1990 and 1996.

Donais later attempted to gain entrance into legitimate Broadway theater in New York. More recently, he considered embarking on a career as a chef and had moved to Sacramento to attend culinary school, according to his girlfriend's testimony.

The Sacramento Bee is withholding the name of the woman, now 41, because she is a domestic violence victim.

She testified that she first met Donais in Hawaii when she was on vacation and quickly began a sexual affair with him. She said she ended the relationship in 1992 when she found out Donais acted in gay porn films.

In mid-2008, the victim testified, she discovered he had become a Broadway actor and that she looked him up in New York City. After renewing their relationship, she said, they drove from the East Coast to California in his recreational vehicle.

They lived for a while in the KOA in West Sacramento before moving into a condominium, the woman testified. She said the condo was purchased by a male lover of Donais' from New Hampshire who eventually moved in with them. She testified she moved out when she caught them having sex.

A couple days after her departure, she said, she was taking a bath around 9 p.m. in her residence when Donais knocked on her door. She said she let him in and was returning to her bath when he said, "I came over here to kill you."

"He just grabbed me like I was nothing, and he picked me up and he threw me into the bathroom," the woman testified at Donais' preliminary hearing. "He came in and he started beating me with his fists. ... When he took the lid off the toilet ... I thought, 'Oh, my God, I'm not going to live.' And I looked down because I didn't want him to smash it on my face, and he smashed it on my head."

The woman said she blacked out for a minute, then "felt blood gushing down my shoulders."

She said she was able to get some leverage and kick Donais twice, sending him careening into the bathtub. She testified she then ran from the house and called police. Telephone records showed Donais had called her 17 times in four hours before the incident.

Donais testified he'd been playing poker and had one shot of whiskey before he drove to her place to check up on her. He said he was concerned that she was being manipulated by some drug-dealing friends.

Donais said that after he entered the house, his girlfriend got upset when he accused her of cheating on him. He said she came at him with a knife. He said he grabbed the toilet tank lid and swung it at her to defend himself.

He later showed up at a hospital bleeding from a 1 1/2 -inch shard of porcelain jammed into his arm.

Hospital officials called police and Donais was arrested and booked on a charge of attempted murder. He later bailed out and remained free until Nunley remanded him into custody Tuesday.

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