Public Safety

Man accused of fatally stabbing girlfriend wants to keep out confession he made to police

Gregory Davis claims he didn't understand rights

Gregory Davis of Marion (left) is arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder via video feed at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Sitting with him is Linn County Public Defender Brian Sissel. Linn County District Judge Nicholas Scott set Davis’ bail at $2 million cash. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Gregory Davis of Marion (left) is arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder via video feed at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Sitting with him is Linn County Public Defender Brian Sissel. Linn County District Judge Nicholas Scott set Davis’ bail at $2 million cash. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A man, who is accused of killing his girlfriend and concealing her body in a carpet roll on a utility trailer last year, says he didn’t understand waiving his rights to a lawyer or to remain silent during a police interrogation.

Lawyers for Gregory Davis, 27, charged with first-degree murder, asked a judge Friday to toss out Davis’s statements made to police, including a confession that he fatally stabbed Carrie Davis, 29, on or about Sept. 28 at 1280 14th St., the Marion home the two had shared.

Brian Sissel, during Friday’s hearing, told 6th Judicial District Judge Sean McPartland that a lawyer, Jeff Clark, hired by Davis’ parents was at the police department asking to speak to Davis after he was taken in for questioning but wasn’t allowed to go into the interrogation.

Sissel said Davis wasn’t told Clark was there and the officers didn’t stop interview, even when Davis didn’t want to talk anymore. Sissel admits Clark didn’t specifically ask for Clark but the investigators knew Clark was there and refused to give him access to Davis.

Sissel, in his written argument, said after investigators said they wanted to talk about Carrie Davis, Davis immediately said “I probably need a lawyer. Just to. just to … I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about it.” Davis said about six times throughout interview he didn’t want to talk.

Judge McPartland said there’s nothing in the record to show if Davis knew Clark was at the police station or not.

Sissel agreed but said Davis said he wanted to stop talking.

Sissel also argued that Davis didn’t understand what waiving his Miranda rights meant — that he was agreeing to speak to investigators. The investigators didn’t fully explain those rights or consequences. The officers should have realized Davis didn’t understand, Sissel said.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Both experts in this case said Davis was “severely mentally ill, suffering from substance induced psychosis,” Sissel noted.

In Sissel’s written argument, he said Davis didn’t respond to some of the investigators’ questions or responded with a “nonsensical” answer. As an example, when one investigator explains Davis is entitled to have a lawyer, Davis says “I don’t know. I recall the possession from the devil once.” Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said there has to be a “clear invocation” of his rights — the he wants a lawyer. Davis asked if he should have lawyer, which isn’t the same thing. He did actually say he wanted a lawyer in the second part of the interview and the investigators ended the questioning.

Vander Sanden said the right to remain silent is the same standard. It has to be made clear to police that someone doesn’t want to talk. Davis said he didn’t want to talk about arguments with Carrie Davis and said I probably need a lawyer.

McPartland pointed out that the investigator thought it was Davis’s intent to have a lawyer. The investigator says “I know you mentioned you wanted a lawyer.” The investigator clearly understood, McPartland added.

Vander Sanden said he doesn’t think the investigator understood what Davis was asking.

McPartland said he would file a written ruling later.

Court documents show Davis told investigators that after he killed Carrie Davis, he placed her body in a roll of carpet on the utility trailer and moved the trailer to the his parent’s vacant rental at 560 Hillview Dr., near Hanna Park in Marion.

Police discovered the body about 9:15 a.m. Oct. 2, after talking to Davis’ mother, Kathy Davis, according to court documents.

A criminal complaint shows Carrie Davis had eight stab wounds to her back and other injuries.

Kathy Davis, on Oct. 2, told police her son had been “acting strangely” and had told his parents he broke up with Carrie Davis on Sept. 29, according to court documents.

Kathy Davis was concerned because the trailer had been parked at the house on 14th Street but was now parked in the carport next to her rental illview Dr. property.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.