From the Spokesman-Review (July 26, 2012):
A judge today granted the request for a new trial of a man convicted four years ago of the 2007 beating death of an adult bookstore owner in Spokane following the conviction two weeks ago of another man for the same crime.
Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt granted the request to hold a new trial for Jeramie R. Davis, 41, who was sentenced in 2008 to 40 years in prison for the first-degree murder of 74-year-old John G. “Jack” Allen, who was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat inside his store on East Sprague Avenue.
What remains unclear is whether Sypolt will vacate Davis’ conviction, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Dale Nagy said.
“What we are waiting for is the order to be signed by the judge,” Nagy said. “But he did indicate that based on what he heard that Mr. Davis was going to get a new trial.”
The date of that new trial has not yet been set.
The hearing follows court documents that were filed in June by the lead Spokane Police detective who questioned whether Davis may have been telling the truth when he said he didn’t kill Allen.
When a jury convicted Davis in 2008, Nagy told the jury to disregard the fact that DNA on baseball bat used to bludgeon Allen to death did not come back to Davis.
Last year, that DNA evidence was again processed by the Washington State Patrol crime laboratory and this time it came back to a match to 46-year-old Julio J. Davila. That prompted Nagy to charge Davila under the theory, according to court records, that he worked with Davis.
Davis admitted going back to the store multiple times on the night of the killing to steal pornography and sex toys that he planned to sell to raise money for drugs. Davis told his sister that he believed the store owner was sleeping. Davis’ sister convinced him to return to the store and they called 911. Davis remained at the store when police arrived.
He quickly became the target of the investigation, which resulted his conviction.
Later, when the DNA linked the crime to Davila, both he and Davis denied knowing each other. Then Detective Tim Madsen submitted a new report on June 19 which questioned whether Davis had been wrongly convicted of the murder.
“Mr. Davis denied knowing or having any involvement with Julio Davila,” Madsen wrote in the court record. “Mr. Davis maintains he was innocent of the murder of John Allen – the new evidence may make Mr. Davis’ claims more plausible.”
Despite that, Nagy said he asked Sypolt to deny the motion for a new trial.
“We did not feel there was sufficient additional evidence to warrant a new trial.”
A different jury on July 13 convicted Davila of second-degree murder with a deadly weapon. He faces between 15 and 23 years at his sentencing, currently scheduled for Wednesday before Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor.
More about this case here.