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Archive for Friday, December 4, 2009

Defense witness testifies in case against Lawrence man accused in attack on ex-wife

A defense attorney began presenting his case Friday in the attempted murder case against Arthur Davis III, who is accused of trying to kill his ex-wife.

December 4, 2009, 2:01 p.m. Updated December 4, 2009, 5:09 p.m.

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A defense attorney began presenting his case Friday in the attempted murder case against Arthur Davis III, who is accused of trying to kill his ex-wife.

The defendant’s friend took the stand, to talk about his experience with Davis and the martial arts training he received from him, describing Davis as an expert who had the ability to manipulate and pin people down.

"He surpassed anybody I ever worked with, military or otherwise," said Mark Koch, a 15-year acquaintance, who said he received jiu jitsu and other attack move training from Davis.

Prosecutors said the victim in the case was able to escape Davis during the alleged attack, by tearing out of her shirt and running down the street in only her underwear until she was rescued by police.

Davis, 61, is accused of attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and contributing to a child's misconduct in the case. His jury trial will enter its sixth day on Monday.

Prosecutors said Davis, his 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter participated in the attack, in which the victim claims she was hit multiple times with a baseball bat during a lengthy attack that left blood throughout her house.

Amy McGowan and Eve Kemple, both assistant Douglas County district attorneys, wrapped up their testimony Friday in the attempted-murder case against Davis, by putting the defendant's neighbor on the stand.

Gordan Carroll said he witnessed Davis coaching his son to hit a basketball with a baseball bat just days before the defendant, the son and daughter allegedly attacked the 45-year-old mother of the children with a baseball bat inside her Lawrence home.

"It was a significant amount of force," Carroll said, as he explained the activity.

The weekend before the June 16 attack, Carroll said, Davis was standing at the edge of his pickup truck, while his son hit the basketball with a baseball bat, "directly, with both hands in front of him."

He called police after learning about the attack and officers came out and took a picture of a basketball in the truck, according to evidence presented in court.

Prosecutors said the son attacked his mother with a bat while she was asleep. After a 20- to 30-minute struggle, the activity continued in the hallway, where the woman's daughter testified she also hit her mother with the bat. The father showed up later, according to prosecutors, and can be heard in the background of a 911 call ordering his son to intensify the alleged beating.

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.

Local and state law enforcement investigators have said they based their investigation on the victim's explanation of events, but defense attorney Greg Robinson has raised issues for the jury, questioning whether her alleged attack happened the way prosecutors claim.

After the attack, the victim said a crime scene cleanup crew found a mangled pair of her son's glasses in her bedroom. Repeatedly Robinson has asked how detectives would miss such evidence during their thorough investigation.

Robinson has said that while the victim's blood was found all over her bedroom, there is nothing connecting the son to the bedroom.

"I could not see any (scientific) evidence that (the son) was in the bedroom," Lawrence police detective Zachariah Thomas testified on Friday.

Testimony in the case is scheduled to continue Monday morning.

Comments

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years ago

Bet that guy didn't think his neighbor was watching him train his son to kill...oops!

So who hit the mom in the bedroom? Something smells fishy here...somebody's not telling the truth...

somebodynew 5 years ago

Ricky_ You don't happen to think it might be the defense attorney just trying to "muddle it up", do you ??? Knowing him, I do.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years ago

I suppose it's possible. Especially if you have inside info (knowing the attorney).

somebodynew 5 years ago

It is also the basic "soddi" defense. (Some Other Dude Did It) Doesn't matter who and they don't have to name anyone, just point the blame away from his client. Lots of attorneys try that.

bearded_gnome 5 years ago

expert who had the ability to manipulate and pin people down.

this is supposed to help Davis? what? that he being so highly trained and capable she'd not get away? or, he wouldn't have had his kid do it?
WTH? just how does this testimony help Davis?

the not finding blood on the ceiling and the boy's glasses seem like they're not that meaningful. no blood on the ceiling: blood splatter is certainly not predictable and asking such a stupid question implies it is.
just how did the boy's glasses get broken then if not in the struggle with Mom?


yes, Somebodynew, I thought that too, without knowing the bottom-feeder/lawyer, it looks like he knows his defense is weak at best, and e's just tossing out crap when he can.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"blood splatter is certainly not predictable"

Actually, it is, or they wouldn't analyze it as a source of evidence. But that doesn't mean the evidence is always conclusive.

ebyrdstarr 5 years ago

Bozo wrote:

“blood splatter is certainly not predictable”

Actually, it is, or they wouldn't analyze it as a source of evidence. But that doesn't mean the evidence is always conclusive.


Sure. Just like the FBI would never have used lead bullet analysis to convict hundreds (thousands?) of people if the science behind it hadn't been sound. Except, of course, it was complete junk with no scientific validity and every credible forensic "scientist" in the country stopped doing that analysis. But that didn't help the defendants convicted due to that junk.

And just like forensic "scientists" wouldn't have testified about microscopic hair analysis if the science behind it hadn't been sound. Except, of course, it is complete junk with no scientific validity. Trying to compare two hairs to each other just by looking at them under a microscope is useless. By using only a microscope, experts can't even distinguish human hair from canine.

And certainly forensic "scientists" would never have testified about their methods of distinguishing arson fires from accidental ones if the science behind it hadn't been sound. Except, of course, it is complete junk with no scientific validity. Read about the Cameron Todd Willingham case out of Texas to learn what kinds of myths lead to a "scientific" conclusion of arson. Once people started conducting actual scientific experiments, though, they learned just how wrong their myths had been.

And then there are "scent line-ups" conducted by dogs that pass in courtrooms in Texas. And fingerprints even though there's still no standard for declaring matches. And bitemark evidence.

Basically, the vast majority of what passes for "science" in our criminal courtrooms is made up by people who work for law enforcement. It's largely junk thrown out by people who are more interested in convicting people than in conducting sound science. In February of this year, the National Academy of Sciences issued a blistering report criticizing the way forensic sciences are conducted in this country and urging a complete overhaul of our nation's crime labs.

I would suggest you read up on that report before being so trusting of the methods of evidence analysis provided by the state in a criminal case.

(As relates to this particular case, I doubt the lack of blood spatter on the ceiling means much of anything.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

ebyrdstarr--

Geez, lighten up. As I said, blood spatter evidence is often not conclusive. Nevertheless, what evidence can be garnered from it is based on physics, so to that extent, it is "scientific." Does that mean every murder can be solved by a blood-splatter expert a la "Dexter?" Of course not, but it can be useful in determining some details at some crime scenes.

ebyrdstarr 5 years ago

Bozo, you said that they wouldn't analyze something as a source of evidence if it wasn't predictable. I was simply pointing out the fallacy of that statement.

The people who testify about blood spatter aren't physicists and probably generally couldn't pass a college physics exam if they were given one right now. (I couldn't.) Mostly they're cops who have received about a day's worth of training and then consider themselves experts.

I agree blood spatter can be moderately useful, but I'm not so sure I trust the people the state has testifying about it.

And I'll lighten up when we establish proper science standards for this nation's criminal courts and stop allowing just anything that some state's "expert" declares to be admissible in a criminal trial.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

“blood splatter is certainly not predictable”

I should point out that the main problem with this statement is that "prediction" is not what is required at a crime scene. The splatter has already occurred, so there is no need for "prediction." What's required is a reconstruction, which is quite often not possible to do in a way that provides useful evidence.

ebyrdstarr 5 years ago

“blood splatter is certainly not predictable”

I should point out that the main problem with this statement is that “prediction” is not what is required at a crime scene. The splatter has already occurred, so there is no need for “prediction.” What's required is a reconstruction, which is quite often not possible to do in a way that provides useful evidence.


What? Of course what happened at a crime scene has already occurred, so the csi guys aren't trying to "predict" anything. Umm, but did you really think about your comment? Because reconstruction is only possible IF blood spatter is predictable. If blood spatter doesn't behave in a predictable way, there would be no way to take the final pattern and work backwards to try to reconstruct what did happen.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

" Umm, but did you really think about your comment?"

Yes. Did you?

" Because reconstruction is only possible IF blood spatter is predictable."

There's still a vast difference between prediction and reconstruction. Prediction means that you already know many if not most of the variables involved. In reconstruction of a crime scene, it's very likely that many important variables will not be known with any degree of certainty-- which is why blood splatter evidence is often not reliable, not because it isn't "predictable."

KansasPerson 5 years ago

"This guy's a real badass and she probably couldn't have gotten away from him" -- this is a witness for the DEFENSE?! Crazy!!

"Alleged attack" (yeah, she probably beat herself up with a bat, or maybe she fell on a bed-rail -- hey, it's worked before!)

Ebyrdstarr! Glad you came out of hiding. :) Now get back to writing in that Jimmy-book. The world is waiting for your next novel! (Okay, okay, I'll stop) Seriously, glad you're here to weigh in on this topic!

devobrun 5 years ago

Here's what's sad: Look at the picture on the front page. His kids probably got him that tie for father's day. Or his wife bought it for him for his birthday. Or maybe nobody ever bought him anything, ever. His attorney bought him the whole gettup to look more presentable to the court.

pace 5 years ago

"The defendant’s friend took the stand, to talk about his experience with Davis and the martial arts training he received from him, describing Davis as an expert who had the ability to manipulate and pin people down." Wonder if the friend had knowledge of how the guy was when drunk? What a lousy defense. Fighting for your life gives you a little adrenalin, and getting your kid to do your dirty work doesn't seem like a classic martial arts move that one has practiced. Strangely it looks like he did try to rehearse some of it with his kids. Creepy story. Maybe he was distracted by needing to scream the commands at his kids to hit her harder. The only reason he is pleading innocent is because of narcissism.

Joe Hyde 5 years ago

"Manipulation" expert indeed. Training and then persuading two children to try killing their own mother....

anon1958 5 years ago

Arthur Davis attended my martial art school off and on for a couple of years. Maybe he had some expertise when he was much younger but his martial art skills are extremely poor at this stage of his life. He has an injury to his knee and his physical stamina is virtually non-existent. I am quite certain that one could escape him by simply jogging across the living room of a student sized apartment. Indeed I doubt if he could even be relied on being able to murder someone with bat were they tied up in front of him unless he was allowed to "take a break" every few swings.

His attitude suggests to me that he probably really never was all that great of a martial art student even when he was younger. Arthur Davis was often a huge disruption to the class and annoyance to other students. He liked to brag about his so called experience as an "assassin" in the Afghanistan conflict of the 70s. Fortunately for the other students he did not consistently attend class. Fortunately for me he usually attended a class session that was not part of my regular teaching schedule. His attention to detail was very poor and he was a classic "know it all" student.

In my experience (15+ years) of teaching joint locking and other martial art techniques, students with behavior and attitudinal traits similar to those of Arthur Davis are really poor martial art students. Aside from physical stamina issues, he does not have the character or mental discipline to practice martial art joint locks hundreds of times against many opponents. He never advanced beyond the first tested rank at my school.

Despite the fact that he was a poor martial art student and a bit of a blowhard, I am quite shocked and horrified by what he has done to his children. Even though he was only at our school a very short time, this episode has been a shock to the people that knew him. Using his children to attack his wife is a completely and permanently unforgiveable act. I once worked inside a maximum security state prison. A blow hard like Arthur Davis is going to be in for a very rough time. He will hopefully be convicted and will soon find out first hand how real "tough guys" deal with abusers of children.

Blue_Cheekie 5 years ago

I also know Arthur Davis, and I am surprised to hear he bragged about the Afghanistan conflict of the 70s because I am quite sure he was never there. When I knew him, there was lots of bragging about Viet Nam, but someone told me that he never went there either. Lots of stories come out of him.

If prosecution could call character witnesses like the defense just did in Mark Koch (who also knows deep down that AWD III is crazy and violent), there would be an endless line of people ready to testify that he is sociopathic, narcissistic and that he has a history of acts just like this one (to lesser degrees) throughout his life.

The biggest thing about this whole thing that bothers me is that the psychologist didn't see this and recommend that the son and daughter BOTH be placed with their mother - he is sadistic.

anon1958 5 years ago

Ebyrddstar wrote

"Basically, the vast majority of what passes for “science” in our criminal courtrooms is made up by people who work for law enforcement. It's largely junk thrown out by people who are more interested in convicting people than in conducting sound science. In February of this year, the National Academy of Sciences issued a blistering report criticizing the way forensic sciences are conducted in this country and urging a complete overhaul of our nation's crime labs."

The preceding statement is an absurd oversimplification and gross mischaracterization of the report. Many of the methods historically used in the forensic sciences have been rejected as unsound, and this was addressed in the report, to claim that

"It's largely junk thrown out by people who are more interested in convicting people than in conducting sound science."

Is an absurd slander against many dedicated forensic scientists and does not reflect the findings of the report.

The NAS report is huge and people need to decide for themselves what it means but here are a few important points that it made:

  1. As the previous poster mentioned some methods used in the past and present are indeed "junk" science.

  2. Several routinely used methods are carried out with a very high standard of science.

  3. The quality of forensic labs is extremely variable from district to district but many are excellent.

  4. The report recognized that independence and increased separation from enforcement is desired, but not neccasarily because their is concern about widespread misconduct and a desire by the scientists to jail people. Forensic scientists have overturned a huge number of convictions and the National Institute of Justice even has given grants to labs to help them achieve this.

  5. The NAS report was most critical about the way forensic science research and training is funded. Compared to other scientific disciplines the funding levels are just pathetic. Indeed the funding levels are so poor that one could conclude that someone from the Kansas legislature was in charge.

I encourage anyone interested in this issue to read the report and decide for yourself.

Edwards, H. et al. 2009. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. National Research Council of the National Academies.

It can be read for no charge online at the website of the National Academy of Science. If you plan on reading the whole thing at once I recommend that the batteries on your laptop be fully charged!

ebyrdstarr 5 years ago

anon1958's post:

Ebyrddstar wrote

“Basically, the vast majority of what passes for “science” in our criminal courtrooms is made up by people who work for law enforcement. In February of this year, the National Academy of Sciences issued a blistering report criticizing the way forensic sciences are conducted in this country and urging a complete overhaul of our nation's crime labs.”

The preceding statement is an absurd oversimplification and gross mischaracterization of the report. Many of the methods historically used in the forensic sciences have been rejected as unsound, and this was addressed in the report, to claim that

“It's largely junk thrown out by people who are more interested in convicting people than in conducting sound science.”

Is an absurd slander against many dedicated forensic scientists and does not reflect the findings of the report.


The NAS report called for Congress to create a national institute that would establish standards to govern the nation's crime labs. Sorry if I'm oversimplifying things to suggest that's a major overhaul, but to me, it qualifies. As it stands now, there are no national standards for certification of analysts, accreditation of labs, or even declaring matches, as in fingerprints and ballistic testing. This report called for national standardization which is, as you've acknowledged, completely lacking now.

Many labs throughout the country may be excellent, but the report is fairly clear that the majority are underfunded, poorly trained, and too integrated into law enforcement to achieve reliable, scientifically-sound results. A major concern of the report, which you've neglected to mention, was the lack of connection to academic science and the lack of knowledge base that exists in many labs. (Read the report: I'm taking words directly from it.)

My sentence about the report was hardly a "gross mischaracterization" of the report. It was a blistering report and did call for major changes in the way forensic sciences are conducted throughout the country. The report clearly said, "With the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, no forensic method has been rigorously shown able to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source," Direct quote. Not me simplifying or mischaracterizing.

And recommendation #4 of the report is that all public labs be removed from the administrative control of law enforcement or prosecutors' offices. What could the motive of that be other than to ensure that the science isn't infected by bias? The report directly references the conflict of interest that results when the science is controlled by the non-scientists who want to see certain results.

I stand by my characterization of the report (a characterization that every other commentary I have read about the report shares). There is not nearly enough science in our nation's courtrooms.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

I would like to see anon1958 called as a rebuttal character witness. Although I don't know the defendant personally, I am very familiar with this type of sociopathic personality, having had one in my own family at one time. At the very least I hope that the ADA who does the cross examination points out the defendant's current age and physical condition. The very evil of this personality disorder is that these people have no conscience and take no responsibility for their actions.

anon1958 5 years ago

"I would like to see anon1958 called as a rebuttal character witness."

I know the victim(s) very well.

The ploy used by the defense attorney is obviously absurd and as another poster mentioned a cross examination by any competent attorney would easily make the witness and the defense attorney look like an imbecile.

The first questions I would ask the witness is "Sir, what are your qualifications as a martial artist? Where, how long and with whom did you train with? What are the qualifications of your instructors? What professional martial art organizations are you and your instructors members of? How large are these organizations, where are they located and how long have they been in existence? Did Arthur Davis III ever show you any certificates of rank while you were a student? etc etc etc

I imagine the answer would be pretty hilarious like, "err no we were just goofing around in his backyard"

Personally I can foresee the prosecution just completely ignoring this witness in an attempt to prevent juror fatigue or boredom. There are plenty of other issues that the prosecution could tackle and none of us are attorneys (assumption) and we certainly are not privy to the strategy or factors that influenced the formulation of the prosecuting strategy. I would like to see this witness cross examined and made look like an imbecile because I do not suffer fools gladly.

Everyone following this case in the Journal World should be aware that so far major elements of the case have either not been reported or reported in error. You are seeing a snapshot taken from afar with 5 dollar camera held by someone riding a mechanical bull. Just because there is a highly rated school of journalism 2 miles from the Journal World's headquarters does not mean that you can rely on their reporting and everyone that reads their editorials knows that Dolph is mad as a 18th century hatter.

anon1958 5 years ago

ebyrddstar stated

"sentence about the report was hardly a “gross mischaracterization” of the report. It was a blistering report and did call for major changes in the way forensic sciences are conducted throughout the country. The report clearly said, “With the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, no forensic method has been rigorously shown able to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source,” Direct quote. Not me simplifying or mischaracterizing."

  1. Did you read the entire report or are you relying mostly on the commentaries written by other people who may or may not have read the entire report?

  2. There is much more to forensic science than connecting a suspect to a piece of evidence. Your statement broadly impugned the credibility of all forensic scientists and all other methods aside from DNA evidence. Forensic toxicology, ballistics, forensic anthropology are other legitimate methods and there are others as well.

  3. There may not be any national standards for some aspects of forensic science but there are organizations that are recognized as independent that rate and inspect laboratories. National standards are needed but we spent the money for that blowing up stuff for entertainment in Iraq.

  4. The National Academy of Sciences is a highly political organization. The agenda for that report was clear. It's purpose was to establish the framework for setting up a major new federal grant giving enterprise for forensic sciences. I completely agree that this is needed but again, who is going to pay for it and how? Thanks to king George we are currently trillions in debt. Even worse Ronald Regan is dead so we cannot use the CIA to raise money in the lucrative narcotics trade anymore.

  5. Strenghtening ties to academia has a lot of drawbacks. I think it would be better for some increased collaboration but the goals of academia are not 100% compatible with the pursuit of excellence needed for the practice of forensic science.

  6. All universities require grant agencies to pay a surcharge for any grant awarded. This surcharge is known as the overhead cost and usually ranges from outrageouss amont of 45% to 50%. This is backdoor federal funding of universities and has a complex and controversial history. Bottom line, until multimillion dollar federal grants are made available for places like KU to suck money from, there will be no meaningful connection between forensic science and academia.

Guess who would also benefit from the billion dollar federal organization advocated by the National Academy of Sciences? That would be the universities and their research labs which are run by the members of the National Academy of science and their buddies.

anon1958 5 years ago

lol went over char limit. continued

  1. The National Institute of Justice and the FBI appear to me to be doing a good job distributing funds that they have available (a tiny amount tho). You can go to NIJ and see a list of grants by state and fiscal year and see for yourself, dont take my word on it. Following the NAS self serving report will just result in a lot money lining the pockets of university administrators. My suggestion would be just give the NIJ and FBI more money to distribute and not dilute the funding with the absurd ovheard surcharges that the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health just piss in the wind to university bureacrats.

  2. The National Academy of Sciences cannot be relied on as the sole source for anything. Indeed one of their earlier major forensic science reports contained some absolutely bone headed errors in the discipline of population genetics even though two of the authors, Masatoshi Nei and Jim Crow have demigod status as geneticists. The NAS does not even use the peer review process for a huge portion of its scientific publications.

Some of the best scientists in the world are members of the NAS but there are also members that are creation scientists that I would not rely on to teach my sons high school biology.

4truth 5 years ago

Thank you anon1958 for sharing your experiences of Arthur Davis.

His violence, intimidations, manipulations and lies have gone unabated until now and thank God!

Since his early university days and perhaps before, he has been a predator of young attractive women. He has manipulated and intimidated situations and people toward his own selfish advantage.

With any hope Arthur W. Davis can experience directly the consequences of his diabolical behaviors.

Anyone who would listen has been enticed or repulsed with his shadowy life stories of assassinations, masters in China, university degrees and a myriad of accomplishments. Arthur Davis has told these tales for so long that he began to believe them himself and so much so that they began to have a life of their own.

Was Arthur Davis a good martial arts teacher? It matters little because he is a fraud and a made up man. Intelligent - yes. Cunning - yes.

I ask, in good conscience can anyone support a man who simply shows skill, yet who's moral fiber is corrupt at his very core?

Is Arthur Davis the man you believed him to be?

It depends on who you are, what he wanted you to believe, and what you have been fortunate, or unfortunate enough to know.

Art has had the ability to draw in committed students. For the most part his students tended to be people (40's to 70's perhaps) and some of the younger crowd. Some have been quite devoted followers. It has been told that since his arrest some of those students have remained devoted to him and while visiting him in jail were told stories of his heroic attempt to stop his son from harming his mother. Does a rescuing hero hold his former wife and coach his son to hit her harder... and the week prior to that violent event coach his son in the practice of using a baseball bat to hit a basketball in place of her head?

The crimes that Art Davis is charged with represent a fraction of lesser violent bad deeds he has perpetrated against those whom he marked as his enemies and deeds that have gone unpunished. Were it possible for some who have come under Arts evil eye to build a stronger case against him by way of showing that he is not the gentle man he claims to be, but in truth is a devious and remarkably violent man, perhaps if that were possible right now we would be closer to a guilty pronouncement.

Arthur was not and is not a good man as some believe him to be. He is a bad man. No good and decent human being could build a master plan to intentionally manipulate his children so severely that it could bring them to the point of attempted murder. It was not bad parenting by their mother that lead to this crime.

May the jury find him guilty of all charges and let his punishment begin in earnest, even if it will never match the evil he has brought to the world. And may Arthur W. Davis spend the rest of his pathetic life behind bars.

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