The defense continued its presentation Monday in the attempted first-degree murder case against Arthur Davis III by showing the jury a police interview with Davis’ daughter, who was 12 years old and present during the alleged attack on her mother, who is Davis’ ex-wife.
During the interview, Lawrence police detective Lance Flachsbarth sought information from the girl about what she saw and how she participated in the crime against her 45-year-old mother.
On multiple occasions, the girl denied remembering 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, who is now 13, was granted immunity in the case in exchange for testifying against her father. She was initially charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the June 16 attack, which left the victim with head wounds, bruises, and blood all over her house.
Police said the girl assisted Davis, 61, and her 15-year-old brother in trying to kill her mother with a baseball bat. The incident 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.
In an initial interview with police, the girl was much more reserved and became a suspect in the case.
It was last month during an immunity interview, a video of which was viewed in court Monday morning, that law enforcement officers learned the young girl had taken a swing at her mother’s head during the attack, which the victim has described as lengthy.
“He (the brother) was yelling at me to hit her,” the girl said. “I did hit her once.”
In the interview, the girl does not give many details about any planning behind the attack. She said she waited up to let her brother in the house at 1 a.m., but doesn’t remember how he found her baseball bat in the house.
“My brother is lucky at finding things,” the girl told detectives.
She also said she “smelled blood” when she went to check on her brother and mother struggling in the woman’s bedroom, but didn’t mention seeing the large amount of blood police said they found all over the room.
“I hate blood,” she said.
The girl was much more detailed when telling detectives about off-topic things, like the online role-playing game she played with her brother and father.
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.
The girl said her father came and broke down the door to the bathroom, where the victim had escaped and locked the door to make a 911 call.
In that call, prosecutors said, the defendant can be heard telling his son to hit the defendant “harder, harder, harder.” The girl said she couldn’t remember exactly what she heard.
District Judge Robert Fairchild said a witness would testify at length Monday afternoon, the sixth day of the jury trial against the father. It’s unknown whether Davis will take the stand in his own defense.
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.