Archive for Wednesday, December 2, 2009

13-year-old girl testifies that father came up with plan for children to murder their mother

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.

December 2, 2009, 1:36 p.m. Updated December 2, 2009, 5:49 p.m.


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.”

Arthur Davis

Arthur Davis

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.


Mike Myers 8 years, 3 months ago

"After being granted immunity, she told police the new version of events, though Robinson said she left out many details that came out in court only after she met with prosecutors before her testimony"

Can anyone help me with the meaning of this sentence?

shorttrees 8 years, 3 months ago

Translation-- The girl said what she was told to say by her father in the police interview. Prosecutors promised her immunity and she sang a different tune. Robinson is subtly implying that she changed her story due to prosecutorial influence.

somedude20 8 years, 3 months ago

I know that the girl's testimony will help to get a conviction but there is no way in heck that this girl should get away without any punishment. By her own words she was upset that she could not live with father and then helped to hatched a plan to kill the woman who gave birth to her. This girl is a little monster and will only upgrade to bigger and better crimes as she gets older

wishful 6 years, 11 months ago

I would just like to say, I knew this girl personally. This whole event happened during the summer and I saw her 5 days a week. She was there everyday but started getting less cheerful. Every so often she stopped showing up. Random days she would come late or not come at all, though nobody questioned her. Finally one of her closer friends told us her mother called the dysfunctional family. This was the day after the murder attempt. We got the whole story the day after it all happened. I researched online as much as I could about this girl I've known for a few years, some of this stuff explained how she acted. You can only feel sorry for this girl, and her brother. Her brother did attempt murder but the things his dad was telling him about his mother were vile. I can only hope the girl and her mother are living happier lives by now.

Grump 8 years, 3 months ago

somedude20--she was 12 at the time, you fool. She's as much a victim as anyone. Your self-rightous comments about a child are inappropriate.

Shockem211 8 years, 3 months ago

This little girl is NOT a monster. She has undergone a lifetime of manipulation from her Father.

mrsm 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry but a 12 year old knows the difference between right and wrong. Yes, she was manipulated but she did have a CHOICE to go through with the plan. The fact that she did go through with it shows that she has no consideration in whether her mother lives or not. Very sad.

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 3 months ago

I think we need some clarification from the writer of the article. The way I read it she was upset and scared about the murder plan, not living with her mother. I hope this man gets put away for a very long time not just because of the murder conspiracy itself but for what he did to his own children. I think the potential is there for the kids to be saved with proper therapy now that they are out from under "daddy"'s controlling influence. I hope this self centered, controlling tuilli rots in hell.

MyName 8 years, 3 months ago


I don't think you understand who has control in the majority of parent-child relationships, especially dysfunctional ones. They did know that this was wrong, but they didn't feel like they had a choice because they're still children and they can't think independently the way an adult would.

And the reason she's on the stand, is because she didn't pick up the bat, she just didn't tell anyone about her father and brother's plans. It sounds more like someone who was bullied into being a conspirator rather than someone who was interested in killing anyone.

mrsm 8 years, 3 months ago

Well, kids are bullied and then they pick up guns and take them to school and kill their bullies. Do you think THEY should be in jail?

acg 8 years, 3 months ago

U raise an interesting argument mrsm. I, personally can't fathom it. This whole story just makes me sad. When did divorce and joint custody stop being an option to people anymore?

jonas_opines 8 years, 3 months ago

"I'm sorry but a 12 year old knows the difference between right and wrong."

BS they do. From parents, media, friends, or peers, they do what they're told, or what they think will give them acceptance.

babyjontheway 8 years, 3 months ago

I was in a very dysfunctional family and at that age my father did a lot of dumb things and would tell us to do things when he was drunk. My brothers and I were afraid of him we still did what was right. At what age is it ok for a child to do wrong things 10, 12, 13, 18? I think this girl thought like most kids think this will get me what I want and not thinking about the after effects i.e. my mom's death. I would want my children punished if they did this. True the father is wrong, but these kids had many chances to tell someone, they chose silence and it wasn't till after a deal was cut this girl changed her story, not afraid of Daddy now? Please! she meant to hurt her mom she didn't want to live in a house with rules and her dad was more leaniat. It's ok for a child to beat his/her Mom with a bat, but a girl in Missouri can kill a 5 year old and get charged as an adult. I think we need to be fair across the line.

Jimo 8 years, 3 months ago

"I'm sorry but a 12 year old knows the difference between right and wrong."

They don't.

End of your narrow-minded discussion.

Thank God you're not on the jury.

Steve Jacob 8 years, 3 months ago

Did you noticed the words she used? “He WISHED that maybe WE should get rid of her,” and SHE would be better off if her mother was dead. Almost like he can set-up that he was just thinking out loud, not serious, and the kids just took it too heart.

Fact is her story changed, that's never good in court, for whomever, a witness or the one being prosecuted.

nettieb 8 years, 3 months ago

Wow, I'd call this guy a POS, but I'm afraid that is being unjust to fecal matter.

funkdog1 8 years, 3 months ago

Okay, for all of you morons who seem to think that this 12 year old girl had a choice in her actions, think about it this way: if her father is bat sh*t crazy enough to suggest that the family gang up on the mother and murder her, don't you think that the girl might be afraid that her father might kill HER (the 12 year old girl) if she didn't do what he said?

No one can live under that kind of terror and come out without mental scars. Certainly not a child.

happy_go_lucky 8 years, 3 months ago

Consumer there is NO evidence violent video games leads to violence. Any study of the matter(in case study) is clouded by other issues. Columbine was not because they played Doom(a fairly mundane game by today's standards) it was a mixture of drugs, abuse(peer-to-peer) and mental problems from the kids themselves.

Child's minds are not FULLY capable of having rational right/wrong thoughts until their brain is fully developed. And despite the IDEA that 18 makes you an adult, the brain doesn't finish developing until around ~21.

The mind of a teen is going through extreme amount of hormone changes that they become susceptable to outside influence, either from a parent or someone they trust.

Simply put this girl was forced by her FATHER, through various forms of munipulation, to plan and attempt the murder of her mother. The boy is in the same boat, but that is why he won't get adult jail time, because in the end they are in no way adults or capable of adult rational thought.

NME 8 years, 3 months ago

This is terrible! This so called dad put his kids in danger and threw them into doing a crime! The son is really smart and got good grades. This is horrible that this loser 60 year old man manipulated his own kids and then tricked the kids into doing his dirty work! Sick, these poor kids! I believe they know right from wrong, but this dad is a manipulative monster , who knows what he told them!

bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

if psychologist "Bud Dale's" assessment is reported correctly, then the folks in charge of evaluating this family had clearly detected some serious trouble with Arthur Davis III. yes, joint custody is like the default now it seems in divorce; unless a parent is absent or voluntarily gives up custody, then usually a judgment to lose custody really does mark serious problems in that parent's life. of course I know there's the anecdote where the court was corrupt or unjust, but I'm speaking in generalities.

I was left wondering though: what kinda psychologist goes by the name "Bud?"

seriously, the twelve-year-old will appropriately be treated as a juvinile. mind is far from adult development at that age. values and body in the midst of individuation. in such an obviously dysfunctional parental setting, the process of adolescence is far more complex than what you posters experienced.

I just hope Daddy-dearest really gets the book tossed at him.

and again, to the sleez defense attorney trying to make normal twelve-year-old mind aspects into something abnormal or damning to her story, shame on you.
I know you have a job to do, and you should be zealous at it for the system to work. however, what you did today, as recorded in this article, was very definitely bottom-feeder behavior. slime.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 3 months ago

That girl and the boy should have known better. I knew murder was wrong way before 12.

I think everyone's guilty here except the poor victim. I mean talk about a nightmare...waking up to your kids beating you with bats? Creepy...

By the way, what a stupid plan. Kill your mom while she's asleep and claim she attacked you? Where would signs of the struggle be found? These people are evil and stupid.

Iwanttosaythis 8 years, 3 months ago

can someone tell me where i can buy a good BAT

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 3 months ago

You're right, Ricky Vaughn. When I was 12, I knew it was wrong to murder. But where did I learn that? From my parents! From my father who would never, ever have urged me to kill my mother.

But this girl clearly didn't have that kind of father. As a 12 year-old girl, she was supposed to be able to trust her father to steer her properly. She was supposed to do what he told her to do, safe in the knowledge that he wouldn't let her do anything that was wrong or bad. How, at 12, was she supposed to know she couldn't trust him? And after having been raised by a narcissist who thought murder was a viable solution to life's problems, how was she supposed to have the strength of mind and character to know how to handle it when her dad tried to use her as a murder weapon? It's an awful lot to ask of a 12 year-old.

costello 8 years, 3 months ago

"I was left wondering though: what kinda psychologist goes by the name 'Bud'?”

One who's real name is "Milfred."

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 3 months ago

I agree ebyrdstarr. A person's parents obviously have a lot to do with how a person eventually turns out.

However, the idea that murder is wrong is pretty pervasive throughout American society, the world for that matter. Just because dad says it's ok means it is? It seems to me that there are many other places to get that message. Hell you can learn that killing is wrong from movies.

I'm not saying, I'm just saying...

verity 8 years, 3 months ago

It sounds to me like the twelve-year-old did know that what she was doing was wrong and that's probably why "things didn't go according to plan," but she was put in an impossible situation. We can all be very self-righteous, especially now that we are adults, and say we would have known better, but none of us have walked in her shoes.

Do you think her life will ever be normal after this? We should all be grateful that we were never in her situation.

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 3 months ago

Ricky, knowing it's wrong and knowing what on earth to do when your own father tries to get you to murder someone are two very different things.

costello 8 years, 3 months ago

"It sounds to me like the twelve-year-old did know that what she was doing was wrong and that's probably why 'things didn't go according to plan,' ..."

I was thinking something similar when an earlier poster said something about the father getting the kids to do his dirty work. That may be why the mom survived - and seems to have had remarkably little physical injury. I'm sure if dad had done his own dirty work, he would have done a more vigorous, enthusiastic, and deadly job of it. It just goes against all nature to beat your mom with a bat. Maybe that was a factor in her favor?

Abbefaria 8 years, 3 months ago

ebyrdstarr: You sound like you know something about the law...and that's hot!

costello 8 years, 3 months ago

ebyrdstarr, I doubt if you're going to get Ricky and those who think like him to understand, and it's almost painful to watch you try. ;-)

He probably is incapable of seeing the world through the eyes of a 12 yo child from a highly dysfunctional family who finds herself thrown into a bizarre situation with which she is totally unequipped to deal, given her age, upbringing, and dependence on the person manipulating her.

Some people simply don't have the imagination to put themselves into the shoes of a person whose life experience has been radically different from their own. Some people don't even understand why they should try.

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 3 months ago

costello, I know you're right, but I just can't help myself.

kmat 8 years, 3 months ago

I'll put my years of education on child development to use. By age 12, a child does know right from wrong. By age 12, they should be leaving the concrete operations phase (organized, logical thought, thinking is less egocentric, capable of concrete problem solving) and entering the formal operations phase (abstract thought incorporating logic, and prepositional logic).

So, yes this girl knew it was wrong to try to hurt her mother. She understood that hitting her with a bat could result in death. She understood she had a choice to open the door to allow her brother inside. She knew it was against the law (hence the not cooperating until she was given immunity).

But, she was also obviously mentally abused (probably by both parents). This has to be factored into the equation.

She shouldn't be given a free ride after this. I don't think juvi would be the ideal location for her either. I wouldn't place her back with her mother, but I also wouldn't throw her into the foster care system.

The best thing for her will be finding a place where she can receive intense therapy until she is a legal adult and they can prove that she is mentally capable of being a sane, productive citizen. Unfortunately, I don't think anything like this exists here for her. The norm would be to throw her from foster home to foster home.

I wish you had to get a parenting license to have kids.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 3 months ago

If Patty Hearst could use the brainwashing defense as an adult, then surely we can allow ourselves to make room for the idea that at 12 she is VERY much influenced by her father. I really don't think we should blame the girl for going along with her father and older brother considering how ill these people are.

On a different note: I don't hate my wife and I'm not going to conspire to kill her. If I decided she needed to "go", I assure you that I would NOT involve my child in the plan. This man has no love for his wife, his son or his daughter. He's very, very ill.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 3 months ago

Understand? It's an opinion. Costello, you act like yours is the absolute truth.

Look, I understand the girl's household environment wasn't exactly safe and stable. But there comes a point where a person is an individual capable of thinking for themselves. I'm with kmat...she had choices.

Ever seen that episode of Intervention in which a young woman abuses keyboard duster? She had a sister that was younger than her, that went through all the same dysfunctional family stuff. The younger sister didn't do any drugs or blame her problems on her parents.

I realize that a bad family environment can cause these problems, but it doesn't always. Sometimes people just use it as an excuse to act out.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 3 months ago

They're all sick and should all have to face some consequences.

verity 8 years, 3 months ago


She's been granted immunity, so, as I understand it, the law can't touch her now. However, whatever happens to her, she is not getting off with no consequences. She will live with this, and whatever else has happened to her, the rest of her life. I think that is way more than enough punishment. I hope for her that she gets to live some sort of normal life, but I don't see much in the way of a good outcome, no matter what happens.

kmat 8 years, 3 months ago

She's been granted immunity from criminal charges. Doesn't mean they can't and won't lock her away in a facility until she's 21. Most likely, she'll get thrown into the foster care system. Not a good thing.

ksdivakat 8 years, 3 months ago

Ive read and reread all the comments and I still cant wrap my mind around this. I have 3 girls, 20, 18 and 16, and I cant imagine in my wildest dreams that any of them would do that. They have had typical teenage girl growing pains, and they have drive us insane at times, and I know it happens all the time that kids kill their parents, but I just cant swallow it. I do agree with kmat though, my girls knew right from wrong at 12 and kids these days are SO much more mature than even I was at that age, its just very sad that the so called dad would subject his children to that all in the name of hate for the mom. I dont know what the answer is but I do know that I feel for the Mom and the daughter.

LoveThsLife 8 years, 3 months ago

This is so sad. I have read the comments and feel even worse for that girl. You need to quite judging her actions like she is an adult and look at her as a 12 year old kid. Divorce is hard on kids, especially ones so young. She may know right and wrong, but that doesn't meet she is immune to adult manipulation. At 12 years old she is still at an age where she is very impressionable and easily would be easy to manipulate a child undergoing a traumatic experience (like an ugly divorce) if you were in a position of trust. Divorce is really tough on kids, many times they feel very intense emotions and a lot of confusion, but do not have the ability or maturity to deal with those emotions in a healthy way. In addition, many children going through divorce do not have a strong support system either in helping them deal with their feelings..many adults may take sides with either parent and often the parents are dealing with their own issues and may not be available for their children. Sometimes kids are even fought over and expected to choose looks like that is what happened in this case. How sad for her, I hope her and her brother are able to get the help they need.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

tumbilweed (Anonymous) says…

what do you call the bottom feeders that feed off reading about the slime?


---uh Weedie, you forget that this court's process represents justice? justice for the victim, justice for the community. maybe you aren't, or maybe you don't care, but I'm part of the community represented by the procedings of that court. or, maybe you just approve of lawyers badgering twelve-year-old little girls, and making their rather ordinary characteristics for their age out to be sinister indications of lying or a changed story?
maybe, Weedie,you are a bottom-feeder yourself and didn't appreciate the attention? is PedroI a pal of yours?

christy kennedy 8 years, 3 months ago

Lots of good comments for once. Thanks to all who attempted to explain bits of the vast and complex gray areas of human behavior to the black and white thinkers.

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