Three pools of blood were found on the bathroom floor. Blood spots stained the walls. A toenail was found in the middle of the bedroom.
It’s among evidence Lawrence police detectives said they found inside the house where 61-year-old Arthur Davis III and his 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter are suspected of trying to kill the children’s 45-year-old mother.
Davis is standing trial this week in Douglas County District Court for attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and contributing to a child’s misconduct.
In a house in the 1100 block of Hilltop Drive that was otherwise “very kept” and “very clean,” it was easy to notice what was out of place, Lawrence police detective Randy Glidewell said. He called the crime scene “complex,” as he explained a handful of the 544 photographs detectives captured from inside.
All the sheets had been pulled from the victim’s bed, where she said she was awakened the morning of June 16 to her son striking her on the head with a baseball bat. Blood soaked parts of the pink mattress and covered a pillow case, and “a lot” of blood drops covered the carpet, Glidewell said.
Davis’ defense attorney questioned how no blood could be found on the ceiling, if a bat was used to repeatedly attack the victim, as prosecutors allege. Glidewell said blood castoff is only present in 6 percent of crime scenes.
The alleged attack moved from the bedroom out into the hallway, where more blood covered the walls and where the 12-year-old girl said she also took a strike at her mother’s head.
Next, the woman escaped into the bathroom and locked the door, where she was able to call 911. In a recording of the call, she can be heard describing the blood coming from her head.
That’s also where prosecutors said the woman’s ex-husband became involved in the actual attack. The bathroom’s door frame is seen cracked in the photos from where the defendant allegedly broke in. Prosecutors said he ordered his son to continue the beating and that his voice can be heard in the 911 call yelling, “Harder, harder, harder!”
Blood evidence found on the clothes of the defendant, son and daughter indicate all three were present when the bloodshed occurred, a Kansas Bureau of Investigation DNA expert testified on Thursday.
The photos show the bloodshed continuing throughout the kitchen and living room, where the woman said she ran to get away. The scene was “very indicative of a struggle,” Glidewell said.
Eventually the woman said she got away and ran down the street in only her underwear, her son chasing her with a bat, until police rescued her.
Glidewell said the crime scene at the house took him and other detectives more than 12 hours to process, measure and photograph.
A defense attorney pointed to an item of evidence detectives did not find despite a thorough investigation. The victim said a cleaning crew found a pair of her son’s mangled eyeglasses after detectives left the scene.
The daughter, who is now 13, agreed to testify against her father after being granted immunity by prosecutors and in exchange for dropping a conspiracy to commit murder charge against her.
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 and will not testify against his father.
More testimony is expected in the case on Friday.