Public Safety

Marion man's written confession to killing ex-girlfriend found at crime scene, investigators says

Note apologizes to victim's family, saying she was 'love of my life'

Gregory Davis (left) listens as Assistant Public Defender Lindsey Garner talks to him during his first-degree murder trial at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Davis is charged in the fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, Carrie Davis, at the Marion home they shared on Sept. 28, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Gregory Davis (left) listens as Assistant Public Defender Lindsey Garner talks to him during his first-degree murder trial at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Davis is charged in the fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, Carrie Davis, at the Marion home they shared on Sept. 28, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — An investigator testified Tuesday he recovered a torn up, signed confession by Gregory Davis where he said he stabbed his ex-girlfriend in a vicious attack when he was on drugs and believed he was possessed by the devil.

Marion police investigator James Hancox, who pieced together the paper note, said Davis also apologized to her family and friends for killing her. Davis ended the note by writing that Carrie Davis “was the love of my life.”

Gregory Davis, 29, of Marion, is standing trial this week for first-degree murder. He is accused of stabbing the 29-year-old woman 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 a trailer Oct. 2 parked outside his parents’ vacant rental house in Marion.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden, in his opening statement Tuesday, said this was a simple case of a “boyfriend who brutally and viciously killed his girlfriend.” He stabbed her over 20 times and wrapped her body in a sheet and three blankets, then put the body in a roll of carpet and “dumped” her on the trailer, Vander Sanden said.

Vander Sanden told the jury that the couple shared a common last name but were not related or married. Carrie Davis lived in Ohio and met the defendant after he moved there for work. When Gregory Davis moved back to Marion, Carrie Davis moved with him. They would sometimes argue during their relationship and would use drugs together, Vander Sanden said.

Gregory Davis’ mother, Kathy Davis, asked police to do a welfare check on her son Oct. 2 after her son told her Carrie Davis went back to Ohio on Sept. 28.

“That was the last day she was alive,” Vander Sanden said. 

Gregory Davis admitted to killing the woman, and he made a conscious decision to “stab her over and over again,” Vander Sanden said.

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“It was a deliberate act. ... He had specific intent. He knew what he was doing, and he felt regret,” Vander Sanden told the jury.

In the defense’s opening statement, Gregory Davis’ public defender Lindsey Garner painted a different picture of what happened that day. Gregory Davis thought Carrie Davis was the “devil or a demon” and he believed she would be resurrected like “Jesus,” Garner said.

“These aren’t the thoughts of a sane man,” Garner told the jury.

Gregory Davis didn’t think he did anything wrong, Garner said. She said evidence from “multiple” doctors will show he has a mental illness. He had an “irresistible impulse that he couldn’t control. He didn’t know right from wrong. He thought he was helping her,” Garner said.

Garner said the defense won’t dispute any evidence about the fatal stabbing, only that her client didn’t understand what he was doing. He was having delusions and hallucinations and suffering from a psychosis at the time of the killing, she said.

“After this, he saw Muppet hands working on Carrie,” she said. “These aren’t thoughts of a sane man.”

Officers and investigators testified about finding the body and evidence at the couple’s home, where they say Carrie Davis was killed.

Tara Scott, a criminalist with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s crime lab, testified that a mattress and carpet stains hidden under it tested positive for blood belonging to Carrie Davis. Investigators searched the home for knives that could have been used as the weapon, but of the many knives found, none tested positive for blood, she said.

They also found a pair of Gregory Davis’ overalls and a jacket in the laundry room that had Carrie Davis’ blood on them.

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In the garage, Scott said investigators found a piece of paper with a note thought to be written by Gregory Davis that compared him to “God” and said he couldn’t do anything wrong. The paper also said Davis can “choose right from wrong,” Scott testified.

In Carrie Davis’ dayplanner, it said “Carrie loves Greg. He’s my best friend. The sun to my moon,” and she “promises to never leave him,” Scott said. Investigators didn’t think she wrote it.

Scott, on cross examination, said investigators found 18 knives but none tested positive for human blood. It’s possible that blood or DNA evidence may have been removed if the knives were cleaned, Scott said when questioned by Vander Sanden.

Linn County Sheriff’s Lt. Matt Pavelka testified that when he and others arrested Gregory Davis on Oct. 2, 2017, he didn’t resist and seemed “normal.” He was able to talk with them and seemed coherent, Pavelka said, and he had no signs of impairment from drugs or alcohol.

Marion police officer Brad Feickert said nothing was found at Gregory Davis’ parents’ home, except in the garage. There was a step stool and above it was black extension cord tied in a “makeshift noose” hanging from the garage door opener unit, Feickert said.

Hancox, testifying about the torn up note believed to a confession, said it was found inside a glass in a cupholder in Gregory Davis’ pickup truck. The note was also singed, like it was burned, he said.

Other items in the truck included two or three knives, driver’s licenses for Gregory Davis and Carrie Davis, and in the back was a plastic bag with a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt with what looked like blood, and a white paper towel with red stains that also looked like blood.           

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

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