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Archive for Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mother testifies that ex-husband screamed ‘harder! harder!’ as son beat her with baseball bat

Mother describes unusual behavior of children, ex-husband prior to attack

Attorney Gregory Robinson, left, and defendant Arthur Davis III discuss case details during a break Tuesday morning in Douglas County District Court. Davis is on trial, accused of trying to kill his ex-wife.

Attorney Gregory Robinson, left, and defendant Arthur Davis III discuss case details during a break Tuesday morning in Douglas County District Court. Davis is on trial, accused of trying to kill his ex-wife.

December 1, 2009, 1:32 p.m. Updated December 1, 2009, 4:46 p.m.

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Victim testifies in attempted murder trial

The victim in an attempted murder trial took the stand Tuesday during the second day of the trial. The woman described being beaten with a baseball bat by her son. Enlarge video

Her children were acting differently; her ex-husband was acting differently.

Things suddenly became unusual leading up to the June 16 attack, which prosecutors claim was an attempt by the children and their father to take the 45-year-old Lawrence woman’s life.

“Everything was a little too calm,” she testified on Tuesday at her ex-husband’s trial, which is being heard this week by a Douglas County jury.

The victim said her 15-year-old son struck her repeatedly with a baseball bat, initiating a lengthy late-night struggle that involved her ex-husband eventually showing up at her home, breaking inside her locked bathroom and encouraging the beating to continue.

“My life was in danger,” she said. “I considered any blow to the head could be possibly fatal.”

The ex-husband, Arthur Davis III, 61, is accused of attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and contributing to a child’s misconduct.

Prosecutors have offered to reduce a charge of attempted first-degree murder against the son to aggravated battery as part of a plea deal. He is being tried separately as a juvenile.

The alleged attack came amid a heated child custody dispute and three nights after the ex-husband and the children learned a parenting evaluation suggested that their 12-year-old daughter should continue living with the mother instead of with the defendant, who had been trying to gain custody of her.

During the trial Tuesday, the victim explained the events leading up to the attack, which, as pictures in court showed, left her with a gash in her head, and blood and bruising all over her face and head, as well as bruises on her body. Her testimony:

• Two nights before the attack, she said, her ex-husband brought the children by the house to pick up bats so they could go to the batting cages, something they had never done before. They later returned home with the bats.

• One night before the attack, the victim said, her daughter told her that she had seen someone at the back door of the home, in the 1100 block of Hilltop Drive, and had scared them off.

• On the evening of the attack, she said, the son had stopped by and hung out for about an hour, something he hadn’t done in a long time. The son and mother had grown apart when he started spending more and more time with the defendant.

• Later that night, the victim said, her ex-husband called to ask her about taking the daughter to voice lessons the next morning, and was in a “jovial” mood, when he was “usually agitated” and did not encourage his children to attend school, but instead to stay home and play video games.

Later that night the woman allegedly woke to her son beating her with a baseball bat.

A 911 call made by the mother during the struggle indicates she was out of breath and that her husband showed up during the attack and broke into her bathroom, prosecutors said. They said the defendant can be heard on the recording yelling “harder, harder, harder,” encouraging the son to strike her harder with the bat.

After running in a circle through the house, the victim said, she was eventually able to escape her son and the defendant. She ran nude down the street until police arrived to assist her and arrest the son and defendant.

Defense attorney Greg Robinson has said Davis was not responsible for the attack. The victim said she did not see Davis during the 20- to 30-minute struggle with the son, but only when he allegedly broke into her bathroom.

The daughter, who is now 13, is expected to testify against her father, after being granted immunity by prosecutors and in exchange for dropping a conspiracy to commit murder charge against her. She has been living out of state with an aunt after being released from custody.

Prosecutors have said the son will not testify in the case.

During cross-examination of the victim Tuesday, Robinson tried to poke holes in the woman’s parenting practices, indicating times the girl was tardy and absent from school under the victim’s care and a time the victim called her daughter a derogatory name.

Davis' trial will resume Wednesday morning. Check back at LJWorld.com for continuing coverage.

Comments

SpunKey 5 years ago

Amazing that the victim was able to call 911 but even more amazing is that the phone was still recording this schmuck yelling "harder, harder, harder." What a twisted man to not only breakdown the bathroom door, hold down a bleeding scared woman, chase her through her house, etc... but to blame his poor manipulated kids!!!! Obviously they do whatever the dad tells them (unless taken out-of-state with dad in jail)!!!!! Glad he didn't use the insanity defense... that might have worked given his total ignorance as to the evidence thus far! How can he say the kids were doing it? They didn't breakdown the door (where the woman was safe). I wonder how much his bullying skills will work on the other criminals once he is doing hard time. I bet they're harder to influence than a couple kids trying to please their daddy.

babyjontheway 5 years ago

This is so awful and I am mad at the Prosecutors for giving these kids deals. They need to be punished for their actions we are not dealing with children teens can think for themselves and can decided good v. bad. These kids made concious decisions to do this and should be in a jail cell right along with the man that wanted to spend "quality" time with them. I feel sorry for this women we carry our babies below our hearts for 9 months and in our hearts forever. I have 2 kids and I get hurt when I am told they don't love me, I couldn't imagine if they physically hurt me. This women has been betrayed by her children, this is horrible.

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

I still gotta wonder what was said to those kids to make them go after their mom. my parents drive me up the freakin wall, but I have never harbored the thought of bludgeoning them to death.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years ago

Interesting point, DarkGhost. I wasn't planning on it...I think my kids should have their own names, not mine.

Reading this article made me feel sick.

mom_of_three 5 years ago

Although teenagers know right from wrong, parents and adults can convince some teens of anything. If the father convinced the kids that their mother would take them away or would prevent them from seeing him or that this was the only way, the kids would believe it after a while. It all depends on the maturity of the kids

MyName 5 years ago

@babyjon:

I think most every case involving a juvenile should be evaluated on an individual basis, so I might agree with your approach in some cases, but the thing is, prison doesn't solve problems. Not ever. Most of the time all it does is give individuals a place where they can hone their skills or can be exposed to equally troubled fellow inmates.

While it's obviously a little too far gone for the father, 13 or even 15 year olds change mentally and physically quickly enough that they can be put on the right track alot of the time.

To put it simply, they may have the body of a young adult, but they are learning how to think like an adult, which is why they're still fixable. I mean, think about how dumb you were at that age.

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

I don't see at this point where the attempted first-degree murder and kidnapping charges occurred. Maybe when the girl testifies his role will be better known.

George_Braziller 5 years ago

I think dad and the two kids should spend some "quality" time in the same jail cell. All three of them sound like idiots.

MyName 5 years ago

@srj:

The kidnapping charge is simple: she was trapped in her bathroom against her will. If you're put somewhere and not allowed to leave it's kidnapping.

First degree attempted murder will depend upon whether the battery could pose a credible attempt upon her life, but if so, then it would be first degree simply because it was committed in the course of another dangerous crime (kidnapping).

MyName 5 years ago

Also, it wouldn't be considered kidnapping, but rather false imprisonment if there wasn't another serious crime (battery) involved.

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

Did he have anything to do with the battery? Walking into the house in the middle yelling "harder" I would think is not attempted first degree murder. But again, I want to hear what the girl says to see what his role was more.

My opinion is just that if they are going to send someone away for years, the one with the bat in his hands should do the most time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

An adult consciously causing a minor child to commit any serious felony means that adult is fully complicit in those acts, and given that they are the adult, they should even bear greater responsibility, given that children, even 15-year-olds, can be swayed more easily than adults, especially by an authority figure such as a parent.

ebyrdstarr 5 years ago

Myname, nothing you said about the law of kidnapping or murder is correct.

leedavid 5 years ago

Kidnapping??? Naw, false imprisonment yep. Obviously there was a conspiracy to commit murder led by the father. His actions are much like Charles Mansion.That rule applied is attempted first degree murder. Intent to kill is also evident here which further supports attempted first degree murder. Just my guess. Where am I wrong?

pace 5 years ago

I wonder how many of us have tolerated the abusive person in our community. For years I was polite to a guy who sounds like papa in the story, He fed his kids and himself a constant line of derogatory stories and degrading remarks about his wife and her daughter. I felt I was being polite, now I feel I was aiding and abetting his abuse. I came to the point where I said what I thought of his remarks and behavior. His habits hurt his sons, one terribly, it hurt his wife, his step children, and hurt all that knew them. I was warned that my remarks might earn me some late night call. I realized I was not scared of him, I was ready to fight such evil. When is a jerk not a jerk? when he is an abusive self centered evil person. I hope the family gets therapy, I hope the guy never gets near his children or other children again.

gordo08 5 years ago

SRJ, I get what you are saying to an extent but the kid was trying beating his mom to death with a bat, the dad came and was encouraging the kid to beat his mom harder with the bat. The dad shouldn't get less time because he was a coward and didn't want to do his own dirty work. I think the words that would come out of the mouth of an innocent person would be more like, Stop, Stop, Stop! Not Harder, Harder, Harder!

KansasPerson 5 years ago

Geez, I hope I never have to take the stand in my own defense. You can have your home broken into and be beaten with a baseball bat, have your life endangered, etc., but when you get up on the stand, some jerk attorney is going to try to imply that YOU, the victim, are a bad parent because your daughter was absent or late to school sometimes.

I know, I know, the defense attorney is "just doing his job," but seriously, a few parenting blips mean that you somehow deserve being beaten half to death? Holy cow. First the Jaeger mess, and now this.

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

gordo08, he does not to prove he is innocent, they have to prove he is guilty.

A20271 5 years ago

pace (Anonymous) says…

"When is a jerk not a jerk? when he is an abusive self centered evil person."

I like that so I wanted to repeat it.

Todd Hiatt 5 years ago

"Where am I wrong?"

A wise one man once said (repeatedly), "Don't think great thoughts. Just read the statute."

http://kansasstatutes.lesterama.org/Chapter_21/Article_34/

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

It was just posted that the fourth victim in the Burlingame massacre has died. Either put this guy away or expect the same from him. Believe me, he didn't succeed this time, given the chance he will the next.

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