A 13-year-old Lawrence girl says her father initiated a plan to kill her mother, after learning the child might not get to live with him.
“He wished that maybe we should get rid of her,” the girl mumbled softly during testimony on Wednesday morning in Douglas County District Court. “Kill her … with my baseball bat.”
According to the plot, the girl would let her 15-year-old brother into the house in the middle of the night, they would attack their mother, then claim the girl was trying to defend herself from an attack by her mother, the girl said.
Prosecutors granted immunity to the girl, who was 12 at the time of the attack, in exchange for her testimony against her father, Arthur Davis III, 61, who is charged with attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and contributing to a child’s misconduct. The girl was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Defense attorney Greg Robinson, through cross-examination of the girl, indicated she came up with parts of the story on Wednesday and that there were many inconsistencies in her testimony, compared with what she told detectives.
“At times, it’s difficult for you to remember things,” Robinson said, during his attempts to quash her story.
Never looking at her father, the girl gave jurors her account of what led up to the June 16 attack on her 45-year-old mother - the defendant’s ex-wife - in which she and her brother attacked their mother multiple times with a baseball bat, leaving the victim with injuries to her head and bruises on her body.
The incident occurred at the woman’s home in the 1100 block of Hilltop Drive.
“He was supposed to stay at his house and then we would call him and he would come over,” the girl said softly of her father. “We would call the police, and we were going to pretend like my mom had attacked me and I was doing it in self-defense.”
The girl ended up calling her father earlier, when things didn’t go according to plan, prosecutors said. In a 911 call recording, prosecutors said, Davis, 61, can be heard in the background encouraging his son to beat the victim “harder, harder, harder.”
The girl said her father mentioned the idea of killing the woman four days prior to the attack, when the three learned that Topeka psychologist Bud Dale had recommended to the courts that the girl continue living primarily with her mother, instead of with her father, as the girl and the defendant desired. The family was going through a heated child custody dispute.
The children went with her father to eat at a hamburger restaurant where, with old country tunes playing in the background, the defendant told the girl she would be better off if her mother was dead, the girl said.
“This man can be powerfully persuasive,” Dale said of Davis, during testimony. Dale also described him as narcissistic.
The trial is scheduled to last the entire week.