Marion man had intent to kill ex-girlfriend but not criminal intent, two experts say

Gregory Davis was under meth-induced psychosis, mental health professionals testify

Gregory Davis listens as his mother Kathy Davis testifies during his first-degree murder trial at the Linn County Courth
Gregory Davis listens as his mother Kathy Davis testifies during his first-degree murder trial at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Davis is accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend Carrie Davis in the home they shared 26 times during an argument on Sept. 28, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Gregory Davis had intent to kill his ex-girlfriend when he stabbed her 26 times because he believed it was morally right, two mental health experts testified Thursday during the Marion man’s first-degree murder trial.   

Dr. Arnold Andersen, a psychiatrist with the University of Iowa and Iowa Department of Corrections, said Davis thought that by killing Carrie Davis she would be “freed from evil forces to get her to a better place.” He thought she would be resurrected, Andersen said.

But he didn’t have any intent to commit a crime and didn’t think killing her was against the law, Andersen added.

Gregory Davis, 29, is accused of stabbing to death 29-year-old Carrie Davis 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 a utility trailer Oct. 2 parked outside of his parent’s vacant rental house in Marion.

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

An investigator testified Tuesday that a torn up, signed confession was recovered from Gregory Davis’ 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 from a mental illness.

The defense began its case Thursday with expert testimony regarding Gregory Davis’ mental state at the time Carrie Davis was killed.

Andersen said Gregory Davis was under a meth-induced psychosis — having hallucinations and delusions — at the time of Carrie Davis’ death. Andersen explained that if someone stops using meth, that person can go into remission and not have any mental issues, unless there is some kind of existing mental disease.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Elena Wolford, on cross-examination, asked Andersen if Gregory Davis had an intent to kill. Andersen said he did.

Dr. Arthur Konar, an Ames psychologist, said he agreed with Andersen’s opinion on intent. Davis was having delusions and didn’t have specific intent to kill, and he didn’t understand how his behavior or actions affected Carrie Davis.

During their interview, Gregory Davis told Konar that he believed Carrie Davis was the devil but also thought he was the devil. He said he knew if he killed her, he could save her, Konar said.  

Konar did disagree with Andersen’s view on Gregory Davis’ use of meth. His opinion was that his meth use wasn’t voluntary and was caused by his depression. Davis had a chronic and long-term addiction, Konar said.

Davis was still experiencing hallucinations when Konar evaluated him, he said. Konar said Davis tried to bite his arms in an attempt to commit suicide while he was in jailand had to wear a protective vest.

Konar said through psychological testing, he determined Davis had major depressive disorder, substance abuse psychosis in partial remission, amphetamine use disorder and cannabis use disorder. Konar also reviewed Davis’ medical and drug treatment records and investigative reports, he said.

Wolford asked both doctors if it was possible that patients or defendants sometimes were not truthful about their drug use or mental issues.

Andersen said he usually asks questions from different angles to make sure he is getting honest answers. Konar said he asked direct and indirect questions, and also asked questions in different ways to ensure truthful answers.

Andersen and Konar both said they thought Davis was being truthful.

In other testimony, Jeff Davis, Gregory Davis’ older brother, testified his brother went through “dark periods” growing up. He was “picked on” by his peers because of how he looked. He was born with a cleft lip and palate, and it led to depression and low self-esteem, his brother said.

Jeff Davis said he encouraged his brother to move to St. Louis and then Columbus, Ohio, to work in his renovation and lawn care business. He said he thought it would help, that his brother was a hard worker but wasn’t good with relationships or management skills.

When Jeff Davis left the business, Gregory Davis insisted on running the business but it failed.

Jeff Davis said when he left Ohio he was concerned about his brother. He was paranoid all the time and thought the government was watching him. He said he never got help for his younger brother because he didn’t want to alienate him.

The defense rested and closings arguments will be Friday.   

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