A 45-year-old Lawrence woman woke up early Tuesday morning to her 15-year-old son beating her in the head with an aluminum softball bat, according to documents filed Wednesday in Douglas County District Court.
Both the boy and his father, Arthur Davis III, 60, are charged with attempted first-degree murder in the attack on Davis’ ex-wife at her home in the 1100 block of Hilltop Drive.
“This is an extremely brutal and violent crime,” Assistant District Attorney David Melton told Douglas County Pro Tem Judge Jim George, during Davis’ first court appearance.
“The evidence will demonstrate the victim was particularly vulnerable at the time of the attack because she was asleep.”
As he read the charge, Melton said Davis is accused of repeatedly striking his ex-wife with a baseball bat, with the intent to kill her.
Police arrested the father and son after the victim was able to call 911 about 1:10 a.m. Tuesday. When police arrived, officers said they saw the boy chasing his mother down the street with a bat.
Melton said even after the victim told her ex-husband that police were on the way, the attack continued.
The couple is in the midst of a complicated child custody dispute, involving their 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter, who also was detained Tuesday morning on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a felony. The Douglas County District Attorney’s office has not filed any charges against the girl.
Both children remain at the Juvenile Detention Center. The 15-year-old had a detention hearing Wednesday afternoon in court, although that hearing was closed to the public.
The judge ordered the boy to remain detained, because of the seriousness of the alleged crime and because “the juvenile is dangerous to himself or others.”
Lawrence attorney Craig Stancliffe was appointed to defend the teen, who is due back in court Aug. 5.
Meanwhile, prosecutors told the judge that evidence will show the father was the ring leader.
“He manipulated and involved at least one of his children to take part in this crime,” Melton said.
Melton asked the judge to set Davis’ bond at $750,000 and require him to wear a GPS device if he’s released from the Douglas County Jail.
The prosecutor also showed the court four pictures of the victim, taken after the attack, asking the judge to look at the photographs before setting bond.
“Only such a high bond will guarantee the reappearance of the defendant, the safety of the community and, specifically, the safety of the victim in this case,” Melton told the judge.
But Davis, wearing a green jumpsuit, slumped over the podium in the courtroom at the jail, argued that was an exorbitant amount of money for someone with no criminal history.
“I have no history of a felony. ... I have no intention of leaving. I think I can disprove this case anyway,” Davis said.
Davis, who told the judge that he’s retired but earns about $1,000 a month teaching classes five days a week, said the most important people in his life are his son and daughter.
The judge ordered Davis to have no contact with his children and set his bond at $300,000. If he posts bond, he will not be required to wear a GPS unit.
Lawrence attorney Greg Robinson was appointed to defend Davis. His next court date is Tuesday.