High court reverses rape conviction of Topeka child killer Billy Davis but upholds capital murder

Billy Frank Davis Jr. was convicted of capital murder in the death of 8-year-old Ah’liyah Machelle Irvin. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. (File photo/The Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday reversed the rape conviction of Topeka child killer Billy Davis Jr. but upheld his capital murder conviction.

 

Davis was convicted on 10 counts for the 2012 beating, rape and murder of Ah’liyah Irvin, whose body was found stuffed in a clothes dryer on March 13, 2012, at 2413 S.E. Bellview. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2015.


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In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Davis’ attorney alleged that her client — high on cocaine, drunk on alcohol and low on sleep — did not commit a premeditated and intentional murder when he strangled Irvin.

When interrogated, Davis was shocked to hear Irvin had died, repeatedly asking, “She’s dead?” Later, he said, “I damn sure wouldn’t want to kill her!” To attorney Sarah Johnson, this was evidence that Davis lacked premeditation and intent to kill, both of which are necessary for a capital murder conviction.

In a unanimous ruling Friday, the state’s high court disagreed. The use of strangulation, a lack of provocation, Davis’ conduct before and after the crimes and the extent of Irvin’s injuries all point to premeditation, the court said.

“The evidence on these circumstances easily surpasses the threshold of sufficiency to support the jury’s determination that Davis premeditated A.I.’s killing,” wrote Justice Carol Beier.

Davis’ only legal victory Friday was a minor one. The court determined that convicting Davis of rape and capital murder was multiplicitous since the capital murder charge was defined as “killing caused during commission of (or) subsequent to rape.”

“In such a case,” Beier wrote, “rape is an element of the capital murder, and Davis is being punished for the rape by the elevation of the homicide from first-degree to capital.”

Justice Eric Rosen was absent from oral arguments in Davis’ case Dec. 15 because of the recent death of his father. Senior Judge Michael Malone heard the arguments and participated in Friday’s opinion in his place.

50 reasons to hit the road
Stacy R 10 days ago
Since when does the Capital Journal name sexual assault victims?
Lola H 10 days ago
She's a murder victim now... they are allowed to report those names once released.
STEVE SWAGGERTY 10 days ago
She was ALWAYS a MURDER victim!!!
STEVE SWAGGERTY 10 days ago
Where were you when this heinous crime was committed? His name was all over the paper?

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