Four men and eight women were selected Monday as jurors in the trial of a Lawrence man accused of trying to kill his ex-wife in June.
Prosecutors said Arthur Davis III, 61, and his 15-year-old son entered the woman’s house in the middle of the night on June 16 and struck her repeatedly with a bat, causing multiple cuts to her head.
“Her heart racing from fear … she wasn’t waking up from a nightmare, she was entering into one,” Eve Kemple, assistant Douglas County district attorney, told jurors during opening statements Monday afternoon.
Davis faces three charges: attempted first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and contributing to a child’s misconduct.
Gregory Robinson, Davis’ defense attorney, said police were wrong when they arrested his client.
“When you see what the evidence is, then I think that you’ll have no choice but to come back and find Arthur Davis not guilty of all three of those charges,” Robinson said.
The alleged incident, in the 1100 block of Hilltop Drive, occurred during a child custody dispute between Davis and the victim, who said it stemmed from their 1999 divorce.
The son was charged separately, as a juvenile, and prosecutors said they’ve offered to reduce the charge against him from attempted first-degree murder to aggravated battery — if he accepts a plea offer. However, he will not testify against his father.
The victim will testify in the case Tuesday morning, followed by several law enforcement witnesses and analysts, a neighbor of the defendant and the couple’s daughter, who prosecutors said was present during the crime and “involved to a certain extent.”
Prosecutors have agreed to grant immunity to the daughter, who is now 13, in exchange for her testimony in her father’s case. A charge of conspiracy to commit murder that she faces will be dropped.
Chief District Judge Robert Fairchild is presiding over the trial, which is scheduled to last the remainder of this week.
During testimony Monday afternoon, Lawrence police Sgt. Michael McLaren said he found the victim running down the street, being chased by her 15-year-old son, who was carrying a small bat and had bloody clothes. The sergeant said the woman was wearing no clothes and had a bloody face. The father was in the area and had a blood stain on his clothing, McLaren said.