Public Safety

Trial for man accused in fatal stabbing of ex-girlfriend could be delayed

'Frustrated' judge not happy with last-minute motion for continuance

CEDAR RAPIDS — The trial for a man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and concealing her body in a roll of carpet may start Monday — or it may not, a “frustrated” judge said Thursday.

During a final pretrial hearing, Sixth Judicial District Judge Sean McPartland said he was “frustrated” that about an hour before the hearing the defense filed a motion seeking a continuance for the first-degree murder trial for Gregory Davis, 27, because a witness wasn’t available to testify. The trial date has been set since at least May, and it was the first mention from the defense about the witness, the judge said.

Linn County Chief Public Defender Brian Sissel said he learned Thursday that the prosecution was not calling forensic psychiatrist Dr. Arnold Andersen, who submitted a report in the case, to possibly testify, and then he also learned that Anderson wasn’t available to testify the second week of trial — when the defense wanted to call him.

Sissel said Andersen was needed if the prosecution calls on an expert witness to rebut the defense’s main expert.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said he didn’t put Andersen on his witness list and hadn’t planned to call him as a rebuttal witness.

The defense has known for some time that Andersen wasn’t on the list, McPartland said. He suggested the defense could take a videotaped deposition of Andersen instead of delaying the trial. Sissel said he had concerns about that because he didn’t know who the prosecution might call for rebuttal, and it would be difficult for Anderson to rebut unknown testimony.

McPartland told Sissel to find out if Andersen could do a videotaped deposition next week or testify, possibly next week. Once he knows Andersen’s availability, then McPartland said he will rule on whether to delay the trial.

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According to court documents, Davis told investigators that he killed Carrie Davis, 29, on Sept. 28, 2017, at their Marion home then placed her body in a roll of carpet on a utility trailer and moved the trailer to the his parent’s vacant rental home near Hanna Park in Marion.

Though Carrie Davis and Gregory Davis share a last name, police said the two were not related or married.

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

A criminal complaint filed before an autopsy showed Carrie Davis had at least eight stab wounds to her back and other injuries. But a mental evaluation, which included autopsy results, initially filed by mistake as an unsealed document, shows the woman was stabbed 26 times.

Gregory Davis is claiming insanity and/or diminished capacity. If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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

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