Gregory Davis trial: Mother admits she delayed call to police about woman's death

Kathy Davis reacts as she listens to a recording of the telephone call she placed to the Marion Police Department as she
Kathy Davis reacts as she listens to a recording of the telephone call she placed to the Marion Police Department as she testifies during her son Gregory Davis’s first-degree murder trial at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The mother of Gregory Davis, the Marion man on trial this week for murder charges in the fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, testified Wednesday that she waited a day to call police after finding out the woman was likely dead.

Kathy Davis told a Linn County jury that her son confirmed on Oct. 1, 2017, that 29-year-old Carrie Davis’ body was concealed in a roll of carpet on a utility trailer parked outside her home that day. She said she didn’t go out to check.

When questioned by Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden, Kathy Davis said she knew the woman was probably dead but she didn’t go look for herself. When she got home that day, she saw the roll of carpet on the trailer and it looked strange, she said, but she didn’t call police for help until Oct. 2.

“You didn’t call 911?” Vander Sanden asked her.

She called the non-emergency number, she said, and asked police to make a welfare check on the woman. She told Vander Sanden that her son did not admit to killing Carrie Davis.

Gregory Davis, 29, charged with first-degree murder, is accused of stabbing Carrie Davis 26 times on Sept. 28, 2017, in the Marion home they shared, according to court documents. He attempted to conceal the body in a roll of carpet, which authorities found on the trailer Oct. 2 parked outside his parents’ vacant rental house in Marion.

The couple shared a common last name but were not related or married.

An investigator testified Tuesday that a torn up, signed confession was recovered from Davis’s truck after his arrest.

The defense doesn’t deny Gregory Davis killed the woman, only that he didn’t know right from wrong and was experiencing some kind of psychosis.

Vander Sanden continued to press Kathy Davis about her delay in calling police, and during her testimony he played the recorded call for the jury.

On the call, said she needed to talk to someone about her son. He “may have hurt someone,” she says.

Listening to the call on the stand, Kathy Davis closed her eyes, covered her mouth with her hand and began to tear up.  

“When you made that call, you thought Carrie Davis was dead,” Vander Sanden said after the recording was played.  

She said yes. She didn’t call 911 because “I thought he needed an attorney,” she said. She told Vander Sanden that her focus was on her son and family.   

Kathy Davis also testified about the difficulties her son experienced being born with a cleft lip and palate. He started having surgeries as an infant, which continued into adolescence. He had many major surgeries to reconstruct his face, she said.

She said this “devastating birth defect” always made him feel different, “not as smart.” He didn’t want to look at himself. Her son longed to be “normal,” his mother said.

She admitted her son was an average student at Linn-Mar High School but struggled. He did attend Kirkwood Community College for two semesters, but he only completed a few classes, she said.

Kathy Davis also admitted to that her son used drugs. She said she now knows Carrie Davis used drugs but had no previous personal knowledge of it.  

Kathy Davis told the court that she didn’t care for Carrie Davis because she interfered with her son getting mental health treatment. Gregory Davis was working in Ohio when he met Carrie Davis and brought her back to Iowa with him last year.

In other testimony, a medical doctor and forensic pathologist with the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office testified that an autopsy showed Carrie Davis had 26 sharp-force injuries to her head and back of her body.

Dr. Jonathan Thompson, a deputy chief medical examiner, said a stab wound to her head causing a skull fracture and brain bleeding and another to her back that penetrated her right lung were the lethal injuries. Some of the other wounds only penetrated her skin and didn’t go into muscle or tissue, he said.

Thompson said her injuries indicat she was moving or the attacker was moving during the stabbing. He said Carrie Davis had several defensive wounds to her arms, legs and hands, which indicate she didn’t immediately die and she knew she was being harmed.

He said he couldn’t identify the weapon, only that it was sharp-edged object.

Thompson also said Carrie Davis had no other health issues that could have contributed to her death. A toxicology screen revealed she had a high level of methamphetamine in her system, indicating recent use before her death.

The prosecution rested, and the defense will begin its case Thursday.

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