A Lawrence man convicted of trying to kill his ex-wife in a brutal baseball bat attack was sentenced to more than 25 years in prison on Monday.
“This crime obviously was a heinous crime,” said Chief District Judge Robert Fairchild, before handing down the 310-month sentence.
Arthur Davis III was found guilty last month of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and contributing to a child’s misconduct. Prosecutors said he led his children in the June 16 attack, which ended with the 45-year-old victim escaping and running down the street in only her underwear for help.
Fueled by a heated child custody dispute, the attack occurred less than a week after the family learned a psychiatrist had recommended that the daughter continue living with her mother instead of with her father.
“Arthur Davis coerced, persuaded and enticed his two children to commit this atrocious crime upon their mother,” said Eve Kemple, assistant Douglas County district attorney.
The couple’s children were also charged in the attack, but the 12-year-old daughter was granted immunity for testifying against her father. The 15-year-old son entered a plea to a reduced charge of aggravated battery and was sentenced by District Judge Sally Pokorny on Friday to three years in state custody. He will serve the sentence at a state youth center, Pokorny said.
Several people from Davis’ Tai Chi class addressed Fairchild ahead of the sentencing, describing Davis as a healer.
“What happened in June has still been very hard for me to believe, because it is so completely out of character for the Art Davis that I know and care about very deeply,” said Iris Wilkerson, one of his former students.
The victim was not in court Monday, but Kemple indicated that she had addressed the court by letter.