Archive for Monday, December 7, 2009

Defendant in baseball bat attack case says he was only trying to defend daughter

Girl claims that defendant hatched plan to kill her mother

Arthur Davis III testifies in his own defense Monday in Douglas County District Court. He is charged with attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and contributing to a child’s misconduct.

Arthur Davis III testifies in his own defense Monday in Douglas County District Court. He is charged with attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and contributing to a child’s misconduct.

December 7, 2009


Trial set for Tuesday wrap up

Closing statements will be heard in the case against a man and his children involving the attempted murder of the family's mother. The defendant took the stand during proceedings Monday. Enlarge video

A very different story emerged Monday from an attempted-murder suspect regarding the events of June 16, a day that prosecutors say the man and his two children tried to kill his ex-wife.

From the witness stand, Arthur Davis III, 61, portrayed himself as a loving father and hero, telling a Douglas County jury that he was coming to the aid of his 12-year-old daughter, who said she had been attacked by her mother.

“She said, ‘Dad, come. Mom said she’s going to kill me,’” Davis testified, claiming his girl hit her mother with a baseball bat to protect herself.

Prosecutors have claimed the man’s 15-year-old son attacked the woman multiple times with a bat while she was asleep in bed, and that the defendant kidnapped the woman and can be heard on a 911 call encouraging his son to hit the woman “harder, harder, harder” with the bat.

Davis admitted that was his voice on the 911 call, but said he was trying to help his daughter break free from her mother’s grip and was yelling at the girl to pull away.

As for the large amounts of blood found throughout the house, Davis claimed his daughter had earlier witnessed the woman staggering around and wiping blood on the hallway walls and in parts of the master bedroom. He said the woman also attacked his son.

Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan reminded Davis of his daughter’s testimony, which said the defendant and the children had come up with a plan in which they would say the mother tried to kill the girl and that she acted in self-defense with the bat.

“Your testimony here today is basically ‘the plan,’” McGowan told Davis, during her cross-examination of the defendant.

The girl, who is now 13, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony against her father. She was initially charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the June 16 attack, which left the victim with head wounds and bruises.

Davis is charged with attempted first-degree murder in the case, which will enter day seven of its jury trial on Wednesday.

The alleged attack occurred during a heated child custody dispute and only a few days after the family learned that a psychiatrist had recommended that the girl continue living with her mother instead of with the defendant.

Earlier on Monday, the jury viewed a police interview with Davis’ daughter, who has said she participated in the attack on her 45-year-old mother.

“He (the brother) was yelling at me to hit her,” the girl said. “I did hit her once.”

On multiple occasions, the girl said she couldn’t remember certain portions of the event, using expressions like “I was off in my own little world,” “It was fuzzy,” “I don’t remember,” and “This part confuses me.”

The girl said she did remember her brother yelling at her to call their father, while her mother was screaming at her to call 911.

“I just thought it might be better if I called Dad,” the girl said in the interview. Prosecutors said that’s when Davis came over to the woman’s house and participated in the attack.

Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

The son is being tried separately as a juvenile, though prosecutors have said they’ll offer him a plea deal reducing his charge from attempted first-degree murder to aggravated battery.


Blue_Cheekie 8 years, 4 months ago

I sure hope the weak lies make the jury more determined to convict.

KansasPerson 8 years, 4 months ago

You don't yell "Harder harder harder" when you're trying to get your daughter to pull herself away from Mom. You wouldn't be yelling at all; you'd be in there trying to get between them. Weak, very weak.

But the most ridiculous defense award goes to the story about the mom earlier "staggering around the house wiping blood on the walls." That has to be the most lame thing ever. I am no expert and I know that they can't figure EVERYthing out by the evidence, but surely wiped-on blood would look very different from splashed-on blood. Fingerprints, for instance.

Steve Jacob 8 years, 4 months ago

Still think from everything I heard, it will be tough to convict of attempted first degree murder. His story never changed, the girls did. But I am sure the jury will find him guilty of something.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

As for the large amounts of blood found throughout the house, Davis claimed his daughter had earlier witnessed the woman staggering around and wiping blood on the hallway walls and in parts of the master bedroom. He said the woman also attacked his son.

---walked around the house whiping blood on things? oooooooooooooooooooooooookay! riiiight.

just lame.
and I agree "harder harder" is not what you yell if somebody's trying to break free. plus, remember Mom was found by PD officers running down the street naked, chased by the son with bat. daughter wasn't trying to break away from Mom, Mom was in fear for her life.

Christine Anderson 8 years, 4 months ago

Disgusting pig, this Davis. As for the prosecutor in this case offering deals to plead down to lesser crimes, I'm not surpised. Every bit as lame as Davis' "defense".

Grump 8 years, 4 months ago

My prediction is the jury is out a few tens of minutes before it comes back with guilty on all counts.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

Looks to me that the defense attorney has thrown in the towel, and decided to let the POS make a fool of himself on the witness stand, further incriminating himself in the process.

mdrndgtl 8 years, 4 months ago

This poor man is clearly innocent. Acquit!

christy kennedy 8 years, 4 months ago

I suspect this guy has managed to control and manipulate the people around him his entire life and has always reshaped reality to fit his selfish and delusional needs and now he's finally running om to a brick wall of evidence, police, prosecutors, and witness testimony. He will probably continue to maintain his innocence and may already actually believe it.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 4 months ago

Looks to me like both these parents are messed up. Kids just don't hate their mother like these kids appear to unless there is something very wrong. I have no doubt the father coerced these kids into this horrible act, But there has to be more to this then just a custody battle gone bad.

aletheia 8 years, 4 months ago

You give people enough rope they eventually hang themselves with it. Now I hope the jury kicks the chair.

flux 8 years, 4 months ago

He was just trying to help, case closed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"Looks to me like both these parents are messed up."

You have no way of knowing this. I've met the mother on several occasions, and while I don't know her well, I see no indications that she is anything more than the victim of a very disturbed individual.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

Not even Jaeger would try a defense as weak as this one.

His belief that he's going to get off on this defense just verifies the prosecution's claim that the man is a narcissist. He thinks he's entitled to whatever he wants, and thinks that reasonable people would buy his story because he thinks they should.

Well, you got another thing coming, Dad of the Year.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

Who will these kids live with? Dad will go to prison for a while. Mom was nearly killed by the kids. I hope they have some "sane" relatives that this girl can live with, otherwise, she'll be in the system for some years to come.

Grump 8 years, 4 months ago

artichokeheart (Anonymous) said:

"Looks to me like both these parents are messed up."

You are quite wrong and obviously don't know the mother.

cntrygrl 8 years, 4 months ago

I pray for this family. I can't imagine what the mother must be going through.

I pray that the son and daughter get the extensive counseling that they are going to need to be able to recover from the horrible things their father has done to them and have any chance at a normal life.

I pray that the mother has been able to turn to the Lord for comfort, because he is the only one that is going to be able to heal her enough to forgive her children for what they've done.

And, I pray for the defendant. I pray that he enjoys his time in prison, because I have a feeling that what is coming to him on his ACTUAL judgement is going to be far worse than what any judge can give him!!!

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 4 months ago

My understanding is that the girl is staying with a relative out of town. What I find so sad is that son was offered a reduced sentence if he would testify against the father and he has steadfastly refused to do it. As a consequence he may face charges of attempted murder. Yes he will be tried as a juvenile and will get out in three years or so but the mere fact that he has to go through that is laid square at the feet of the father who could give a rats patootie as long as he stays out of jail himself. The father is a classic sociopathic personality who not only tells grandiose lies about himself but actually believes them. One can only hope that his house of cards has finally tumbled.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 4 months ago

No I don't know the mother or anyone else in this family. It is strange that both children would become involved in a plan to kill the mother if everything was normal in the family. Many children feel torn in a divorce situation but they do not as a rule want to kill a parent or go as far to attempt to kill a parent. There are some obvious anger issues here.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

" It is strange that both children would become involved in a plan to kill the mother if everything was normal in the family."

Of course things weren't normal-- how could they be with a wacko like the father in it?

Scotchguard 8 years, 4 months ago

A few people commenting in these forums who were acquainted with this man have described his personality and have found him to be a self-aggrandizing liar and manipulator. I don't really know him, but I am acquainted with the victim in this case. Some of the comments have implied that she must have been a horrible person, otherwise the children couldn't have been manipulated to be involved in this. That is not true.

The victim in this case is very intelligent, hard-working, has a wonderful sense of humor, and from every interaction I've seen involving her children, she was extremely dedicated and caring as a mother. When she wasn't at work, her life revolved around her children, their education, and their activities. She was the kind of mother that would leave a social event early so she could go help her kids with their homework or take them to play with their friends. From every observation I've had of her over the years, her children's well-being was her top priority and she was very appropriate in her interactions with her children.

Much research exists on the art of persuading people to do things that would normally be considered repulsive or abhorrent to them. It's really not as difficult as you'd think to accomplish this, especially if the people being persuaded are young and the persuader is perceived to be a powerful figure in their life. In study after study, people have been easily persuaded to do things they never would have considered doing on their own. It's not surprising to me at all that a child could be convinced to participate in something like this.

And what a brilliant plan for this guy. Get the kids to do it and blame it on the victim. If all goes well, he gets the kids and no more hassles. He and the kids will live happily ever after -- probably on Mom's life insurance. If something goes awry, you can't blame him. He wasn't even there! The kids take the fall.

He just didn't count on Mom being as clear-thinking or as willing to fight for her life as she was.

Plain and simple, this man is a psychopath. The only difference between him and someone like Charles Manson is that he used children instead of adults to get what he wanted. As a society we can only hope that the sentence he receives extends the length of his natural life.

thelonious 8 years, 4 months ago

Wow.....I wonder how his attorney can keep a straight face presenting this "defense".

I wonder what this man did for a living.....if he was a boss or employer, I bet he was a pure joy to work for.

anon1958 8 years, 4 months ago

My wife and I know the entire family. I can assure you the girl is not destined to live in "the system." The hateful remarks made against the girl disgust me but do not anger me because it is just what you would expect on an internet forum. Many apparent idiots on this forum have a delusional expectation of what 12 year old children can comprehend in general and are also completely clueless about the very wide range of maturity among 12 year old's.

You will note that the little girl testified that she was "in her own little world" when asked to recount the details of the incident. This is exactly where many young children retreat to when they are being brutalized or in the midst of events that are too terrifying to face. Knowing this child, in this case I especially can see her making this kind of escape. Having spent so much time working with the girl over the years it grieves me beyond words when I think about what her father put her through.

The girl trained with our school a lot longer than the son and in retrospect it is quite clear that as she came more under the influence of her father her attendance dropped off and she quit attending a few months before the attack. In the months before she left it was very clear to myself and my wife that she was going through an extremely tough time (hardly unusual situation for any 12 year old).

Many people posting here also have the unreasonable expectation that the facts about who was charged with what and why certain charges were dropped has been accurately reported in this series of articles.

In years of knowing the family and working with both kids I never heard the children speak ill of either parent. The son was critical of the mother once in a statement to my wife when his father was present but the son was told in no uncertain terms by my wife that he was never to openly speak ill of his mother (or father) while in the school regardless of how he felt.

In any long custody battle both parents will do things that can be criticized. Once the father gained more influence of the son he dropped out of our school. That was about 2 years ago. I had spent a lot of time with the son while he was in the care of his mother and he was a very respectful student. He often came to a class where he was the oldest because he and his sister would take the same class. He never complained about having to come to the "kids" class or showed any dissatisfaction or resentment. He was actually a pretty laid back kid.

When this story first broke I just really did know what to believe. Even though Arthur was obviously a very dodgy character neither myself nor others in my school would have predicted that he would do something to harm the two kids.

anon1958 8 years, 4 months ago

The mother deserves a lot of support and she has friends and relatives that will support her. My suggestion is that if you do not have first hand knowledge about the mother that you do not criticize her. Even better, if all you know is what you read and infer from these articles then really just STFU about the mother and the children and you will avoid making a fool of yourself.

Once this is over the mother and both children are going to face a very prolonged and difficult process of healing. Because of her young age I am hopeful that the girl will be able to put most of this behind her. A testament to the love of the victim for her son is the fact that the eventual healing of the son is her biggest worry. The future of the son is also a huge concern of mine because I KNOW there is a good kid in there. I will not excuse his behavior because he definitely must take some responsibility for his actions and atone for it. However, it is also just as certain that he was twisted and manipulated by Arthur Scumbag Davis. Parsing out the consequences of his own decision and mitigation due to the psychological abuse of the father is something that will not be an easy decision.

In the long run, If his mother can forgive her son's behavior then I think that others should as well. The behavior of Arthur Davis however is unforgivable, I hope he serves a long miserable prison sentence and dies the day before he is scheduled for release.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 4 months ago

Ok so this woman was the perfect mom. Why didn't the kids want to live with her? The girl is 13 and the boy is older. Are we to believe the father had that much power? Maybe the kids did agree to the idea when introduced by the father but there has to be some reason(s) the the kids would agree to killing the mother. That the kids would not want to live with the mother and that the kids would be willing to join this plot just so they didn't have to live with the mother. I am in no way saying this guy is innocent but something is wrong when 2 kids want their mother dead rather then live with her.

Uhjh 8 years, 4 months ago

This guy is an arrogant piece of demented human junk. How could he possible exact someone to believe such a outlandish fairy tale as defending his daughter. Using his children to hatch a premeditated murder plan is the low of low evil people. This type of mind set is just so dangerous it needs to be separated from society forever. Hopefully he will be put away for life.

brujablanco 8 years, 4 months ago

artichoke you really shouldn't blame the victim or assume she did something wrong!!! Please leave this family alone and stop spreading your baseless rumors.

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 4 months ago

Having dealt with a sociopathic personality in my own family I can very clearly see how the children could be manipulated into doing what they did against a mother that loved them. If Charles Manson could do it with adults what makes people think this guy couldn't do it with a couple of kids; his own kids, in fact, whom they automatically looked up to as their father?

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 4 months ago

arti, grow up. You want to model yourself after Marion Hill and it ain't working. There are actually things about Marion I (rather grudgingly and reluctantly) respect. You just come off sounding shrill and mean doing a hatchet job on a woman you don't even know.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 4 months ago

Really how often do kids want to kill a parent because of a divorce and custody issues? Even in the worst divorce anyone can imagine kids don't noramally try to kill a parent even though they might wish the parent was dead. I think most kids know by age 13 that killing is wrong unless there is some mental handicap. The prosecution is using the girl as a witness so I'm going to guess that is not the problem. I still have to ask why the kids would both want their mom dead rather than live with her. The boy seems to prefere going to prison over testifying against his dad and the girl is living somewhere else instead of being with her mom even though the evaluation said she should live with her mom.

pace 8 years, 4 months ago

Lets make this comment thread alll about Artichoke and his shallow desire to endlessly blame the assault victim. Check his comment history, How creepy that is. Artichokes ability to type drivel is not the tragic crime in the story.

Where is the defendants story of possessing ace Seagul style, now he testifies all he can do is yell harder, harder ,when he claims a battered and bleeding woman is holding on to a little girl. He sure didn't call the police.

costello 8 years, 4 months ago

artichokeheart says, "I still have to ask why the kids would both want their mom dead rather than live with her."

Why do you have to ask this? And why do you have to ask it publicly? It is acceptable to have a thought and keep it to oneself.

verity 8 years, 4 months ago

Experience in my own family and in the workplace has shown me how a sociopathic person can manipulate intelligent, well-educated adults into doing something that is against their best interests---even when they dislike that person for what s/he has done to them. A sociopath is very good at using both guilt and revenge as a motivator---even when the sociopath is the one they are actually angry at, not the person they are victimizing. This works especially well when the sociopath is in a position of power and people are afraid of what s/he will do to them if they don’t go along. Sociopaths always see themselves as the victim---if you don’t go along with them, you are a bad person and it is your fault the sociopath is having problems. They are also extremely good at twisting facts to make things seem the opposite of what they are, or of lying in a very believable way. Often it’s too late by the time a person realizes they have been used. Don’t even try to reason with this kind of person---you will end up losing. They also target people they see as weaker than themselves and are furious if that person fights back.

And, Arti, the victim does not have to have done anything but exist and be in the wrong place at the wrong time. To assume that the mother was somehow at fault is beyond ridiculous.

Question for someone with legal expertise: Can’t the boy be subpoenaed to witness?

I’m not sure from what I have read whether the decision to not testify is his or not.

LoveThsLife 8 years, 4 months ago

artichokeheart- most kids don't go around trying to kill their parents in a divorce case. However, most kids also aren't presented a plan to kill their mother by their father either... Kids going through traumatic experiences (such as divorce) can be easily manipulated...especially by someone who is in a position of trust. Sometimes things aren't so black and white...

I just really hope those kids get counseling. I don't think jail is the place for either kid, even the 15 year old. It will just makes a bad situation worse. They need real help.

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 4 months ago

verity, the boy can't be compelled to testify if his testimony would tend to incriminate him. Neither side would be allowed to call him to testify if he's just going to invoke his 5th Amendment right.

verity 8 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, ebyrdstarr, now it all makes sense.

Red_Wings_Fan 8 years, 4 months ago

The biggest mistake the mother made was in letting her children have any contact with this man at all.

This is not Arthur's first family. He has three grown children who were manipulated and divided between their mother and father in a nasty divorce case. He has a much older son whom he manipulated in a similar - though not criminal - way.

The parents were divorced when the children were both under 5. However, the victim chose to allow the father so spend a good deal of time with the kids due to what I assume were child care complications. She simply needed help.

I'm sure in hindsight, she would've tried to keep him out of their lives. And she knew the father was no good a long time ago. There is the only place I can blame the victim. The father has been a narcissistic manipulation for decades, and even manipulated the mother into a relationship when she was very young. This dramatic ending has been a long time in coming.

Scotchguard 8 years, 4 months ago

The mother likely had no legal means to keep her children away from this man other than absconding with them (which would automatically give full custody to the father). In a case of divorce, each parent has the right to see the kids. There was no legal way she could simply just say, "He can't see them" even if she believed he was pure evil.

Child psychologists have said over and over again that children should be allowed to have a relationship with each parent. The courts tend to agree except in extreme circumstances. The father had not been convicted of any horrible crime and there was no legal reason he would be excluded from having a relationship with his children. Even if she wanted her kids to have nothing to do with this man, her options were pretty limited. She did her best to see that he didn't gain full custody of them, and for that, she nearly paid with her life.

I would also ask artichoke to think about how Jim Jones convinced parents to force feed their children cyanide-laced Kool-Aid and how Adolph Hitler convinced the German people to murder 6 million Jews. In both cases, similar techniques were used to persuade normal people to do the will of one person. Without a doubt, Arthur Davis employed the same techniques on his children.

anon1958 8 years, 4 months ago

Artichoke seems compelled to demonstrate to us all that he/she knows as much about this case, child psychology and the law as the plant he/she adopted for an alias.

I suggest that we let her/him continue to display their ignorance for as long as they like.

The son's attorney is obviously much smarter than his father's because the son has refused to put himself in a position where he can be cross examined. In any event there are other reasons why the son may not be testifying but you will not learn those reasons from a news report.

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