Mickey Lee Davis Story
 
By Mickey Lee Davis
 
 
 

 

 

People of the State-of Michigan v Davis, Lower Court No. 95- 3679-FC

 

 

My name is Mickey Lee Davis and I am the defendant in the above case. On April 23, 1996I was convicted of first-degree murder and felony firearm, by a jury, in the Circuit Court of

Berrien County and Judge John T. Hammond presided.

 

 

The convictions in this case arose in connection with the shooting death of my wife, Priscilla Davis, in her parents' home on the evening of October 6. 1995. The prosecution's theory was that Mr. Davis had broken into the home with his alleged girlfriend, Melissa Peters, and that Mr. Davis fatally shot Priscilla when she returned home and encountered them in her home. Also, that Mr. Davis wanted custody of their daughter, Alyssa. The defense countered that Mr. Davis was not even in the area at the time of the offense and suggested that the prosecution's chief witness. Melissa Peters had killed Priscilla, on her own, out of jealousy towards Priscilla.

 

 

Mr. Davis had been working as a maintenance supervisor for a property management company and on June 1, 1994, resulting from a promotion; he was transferred from Benton Harbor to Lansing. He worked in Lansing during the week and was home on the weekends. Priscilla did not want to move to Lansing, about 130 miles, away from her parents and as a result we were separated in August of 1994. We had a daughter, Alyssa from our marriage and a son, Troy, from my previous marriage. Priscilla filed for a divorce and was granted temporary custody of Alyssa and they resided with her parents in Benton Harbor, while Troy lived with me in Lansing. Priscilla was granted child support and I was given custody of our daughter every other weekend. In December of 1994, Priscilla called and said that I did not have to come to pick Alyssa up, that she would drive her up because she wanted to talk to me. Priscilla asked me if I would take her back, that she wanted our marriage to work, and that she was sorry for everything that had happened, but that her parents wanted us divorced and it make take some time. In January of 1995, I filed a motion to stop child support and Priscilla filed a response in the Berrien County court, without our attorneys. The motion was granted on January 26, 1995, and any arrears were forgiven. Due to the pressure on Priscilla by her parents, she continued to live with them. Again without attorneys, Priscilla and I agreed that Alyssa would live with me in Lansing for the summer and that I would return her a week before pre-school started in the fall. Priscilla and I would usually meet in Kalamazoo to exchange custody of our daughter at6:00 pm.

 

 

Mr. Renfro was appointed to represent Mr. Davis and an agreement was made between the defense and the prosecutor. Mr. Davis agreed to waive the 14 days and in exchange, the prosecution had to present his case on October 24, 1995. A preliminary examination was held on October 24, 1"5. Here, the prosecution requested that the autopsy reports, prepared and submitted by Dr. Cohle, be admitted into evidence in lieu of his live testimony and they were so admitted. Officer Lange testified that upon arriving at the crime scene he was directed to the bedroom where he observed a white female lying kind of face up next to a bed. Also, that he had checked the exterior of the house and found no sign of forced entry. Ms. Peters took the witness stand and was to present her testimony in accordance to a plea agreement with the Berrien County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Ms. Peters stated, "Before we begin I would like to say something. Hickey Davis over there (indicating) had nothing to do with this. Okay? I'm sorry; everything that I have said has not been the truth. I have to now say everything that has happened. Every on of my statements need to be removed. They are not true. "The hearing was stopped at this point. Even though defense counsel objected to a continuance the court granted the prosecution a two week continuance.

 

 

On November 7, 1995, a second preliminary examination was held and Ms. Peters testified, for the prosecution, to her accounting of the events in this murder. Ms. Peters testified that

Mr. Davis drove her to Benton Harbor and had dropped her off down the street from Priscilla's house, but she was not sure what time it was. Mr. Davis was to meet Priscilla inKalamazooat6:00 pm to pick up Alyssa for the weekend. Ms. Peters testified that Mr. Davis returned to Benton Harbor and picked her up at6:45 pm, she was sure of the time because she had looked at her watch. Ms. Peters testified that Alyssa was asleep when she was picked up and they parked the car, leaving Alyssa in the car asleep. Ms. Peters and Mr. Davis walked to the house and upon arriving; Mr. Davis produced a pry bar which he used to pry the south door of the house open to gain entry. (The Injustice System observation: The police officer testified that there were no signs of forced entry.) Several minutes after they were in the house searching it, Priscilla arrived and they hid. Priscilla unlocked the south door, (this also tells me she lied about him prying the door open.) entered the house, set her keys and purse down, then went to the phone and made a call, but did not talk and then hung up the phone. After Priscilla went into her bedroom, Ms. Peters headed towards the south door to leave when she heard 3 or 4 shots fired. She went back to the bedroom and saw Priscilla lying on the floor and Mr. Davis was standing there holding a gun. She testified that Mr. Davis handed her the gun and told her to shoot Priscilla and that when she refused, Mr. Davis struck her above her left eye. After she shot Priscilla in the leg, she went into Priscilla's bathroom to retrieve her coat. Ms. Peters drove Priscilla's car, dropping Mr. Davis off at his car and then followed Mr. Davis to a Rest Area, by Exit 72 on I-94, where they stopped before continuing to the place where she parked and left Priscilla's car.

 

 

After being bound over to circuit court, Mr. Davis, in pro per. filed a Motion for Substitute Counsel and a Motion for Discovery. Mr. Renfro had refused to file any motions, refused to investigate and obtain exculpatory evidence, and never talked to Mr. Davis about the case. On January 30, 1996, 28 days before trial, the court granted the notion for substitute counsel, but ruled the motion for discovery "moot". Mr. Renfro was removed from representing Mr. Davis and Mr. White was appointed on February 28, 1996, to replace his law firms partner Mr. Renfro to represent Mr. Davis.

 

 

In February, I took a week vacation and picked up Alyssa for that week. I tried taking her to a licensed babysitter, dropping her off for a couple of hours and then picking her up, but she was not happy with that, so I knew that I was going to have to come up with something else for the summer. In April, I was introduced to Melissa Peters, who was seventeen and had a six month old baby. She watched Alyssa for a couple of hours the following Saturday and everything went fine. Ms. Peters and I reached an agreement: Ms. Peters and the baby would move in for the summer, she would watch Alyssa while I was at work, either I or Troy would watch her baby while she worked, and I would buy whatever the baby needed. The next time I went to pick up Alyssa, I took Ms. Peters and her baby with me to meet Priscilla so that she would know who was watching our daughter while I was at work.

 

 

Mr. Davis wrote a letter to Mr. White, after making oral requests, for him to subpoena the phone records of (616) 927-6068, showing the local and long distant calls made on October 6, 1995, between6:30 pm - 7:15pm. Mr. White did submit a written request to subpoena the phone records and Ms. Peters' criminal history. Also, an oral request was made for her criminal history at a hearing held on4/8/96. Although Mr. White filed a motion for discovery, he withdrew it on4/8/96and failed to follow through with the subpoena requests. Mr. White, also, filed a motion to withdraw, due to a conflict of interest, which the court denied and stated that Mr. Renfro could not be called as a witness by the defense. Mr. White failed to obtain evidence to support Mr. Davis' alibi, failed to investigate, and did not prepare for trial by reading the autopsy reports or prior transcripts.

 

 

Day before trial a hearing was held at the request of the prosecution, to admit evidence of prior acts. The trial court ruled against admission of statements made by the deceased to friends or associates, an Inverse motion in illumine. The court stated, "Statements made by the deceased to friends or associates will not produce a fair trial by allowing the jury to consider those as evidence, so I'm not letting it in, I guarantee a reversible error if I did."

 

 

At trial, Officer Neal testified that after he arrived, he was directed to the bedroom where he observed the victim lying on her back. Officer Lange testified he had prepared the search warrant and that he had checked the house for any signs of forced entry, finding nothing that appeared to be new. Officer Reeves testified he executed the search warrant for Mr. Davis' apartment and car with the help of other officers. Several items were seized from Mr. Davis' apartment and car. A device was found in the car which consisted of a clear pop container wrapped in duct tape, with steel wool and cloth wadding inside of it. Also, a photo was taken to show all the ammunition lying around the bedroom in the apartment.

 

 

Mr. Hirsch and Mr. Bryant testified that they and Priscilla left Benton Harbor in two separate vehicles (Priscilla & Alyssa in one, the two of then in the other one) about4.15 pm and arrived in Kalamazoo about 5:15 pm. Mr. Davis was already there, parked in his car alone, when they arrived. They leftKalamazooabout6:20-6:25 pm and arrived at the Petrol Station inBentonHarborabout7:30 pm. At about7:35-7:40 pm. Priscilla headed home and the two of then stopped for beer and then proceeded to Mr. Hirsch's house, arriving there at about7:45-7:50 pm. Mr. Hirsch discovered Priscilla, at about10:00 pm, in her bedroom, lying on her back, on the floor and he did not move her. Mr. Hirsch testified that PX #14, a photo of the victim, reflects how he saw her when he entered the bedroom. In August of 1998 Mr. Davis obtained a copy of Priscilla's Certificate of Death which indicates the time of incident at 1915 hours (7:15 pm). Also, police reports, autopsy report, and affidavits of three search warrants all state that Priscilla was last seen alive at about7:00 pm. None of these documents were offered as evidence at trial.

 

 

Ms. Peters testified she had never previously been in trouble, never been arrested, or convicted of any crime and was testifying to a plea agreement. In July of 1999, Mr. Davis received a report which shows that Ms. Peters does have a criminal history in several states (juvenile record) which was not provided to the defense before or during trial. An oral request was made at a hearing on4/8/96and a written request was made before trial. Here, Ms. Peters omits retrieving her coat from Priscilla's bathroom, or stopping at the Rest Area, and she has no idea what time Mr. Davis picked her up, but now, she is sure that she was dropped off at5:15 pm because she had looked at her watch. Her testimony at trial is close to what she said at the preliminary examination, but there was numerous discrepancies and now goes into more detail. She testified that neither she nor Mr. Davis left his apartment the following day (Saturday) before the police arrived. Then, she gets up off the witness stand, says that she was sick, leaving the courtroom at1:56 pm and resumed the stand at1:59 pm. Now she recalls leaving the apartment on Saturday to go shopping. Contrary to her testimony, Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez testified that Mr. Davis and Alyssa were at their house on Saturday for a few hours. Ms. Peters had claimed that she was scared of Mr. Davis and could not get away from him or allow her out of his sight after this murder. This is the reason for her previous stated omissions which would not have conformed with her testimony now. She said that there was no ammunition lying around the apartment, but a police photo shows different. Ms. Peters and the jurors were given a floor diagram of the crime scene (PX #53) which shows a body in the bedroom. She testified that the picture of the body reflected the position of the deceased, and indicated, to the jurors, on the diagram where she stood when she shot Priscilla in the leg.

 

 

Dr. Cohle, state's medical expert, testified that he had performed the autopsy on Priscilla. He stated that the most remarkable thing about the wound to the left leg was the path of this bullet was from left-to-right, from back-to-front, and from below-upward. Then he presented two scenarios of how this wound could have been inflicted, both of which the victim's back is towards the assailant. Dr. Cohle was then given PX #14 (a photo of the victim lying on the floor) and asked if the path of the bullet would be consistent with that photo, if a person was standing at the victim's feet and shooting her. He replied that it was consistent with what he previously said. He stated that there was little bleeding from this wound, which would indicate that it was one of the last or the last wound. He was told that Priscilla had last been seen alive about7:00 pm and found dead at10:00 pm, so he determined that she was shot about7:15 pm. Dr. Coleís testimony was used to corroborate the prosecution's "chief witness", Ms. Peters' testimony. But, Dr. Coleís testimony is contrary to the physical facts contained in Autopsy Reports (A-95-480) which state the path of direction of this bullet is slightly from above-downward and testimony and physical evidence shows the victim was lying on their back. Therefore, this wound could not have been inflicted as was testified to, nor could it have been one of or the last shot fired. The autopsy reports were not offered for evidence at trial, due to defense counsel being unprepared for trial. Evidence shows that this wound would have been the first or one of first inflicted, before the victim ended up on their back and would show that Ms. Peters committed this murder.

 

 

Detective Renhawitz testified that he saw a bruise under one of Ms. Peterís eyes and this is contrary to Ms. Peters' testimony. Her mug shot, taken at the time of her arrest, would show there was no bruise at all, but the mug shot was not offered as evidence. Again, inexperienced counsel.

 

 

Several of Priscilla's neighbors testified to seeing Ms. Peters in the neighborhood and at and around Priscilla's house. Several forensic experts testified that the fingerprints and footwear impressions found at the crime scene and in the victim's car did not match Mr. Davis', nor was the murder weapon traceable to him. The fabric, tape, plastic, and steel wool samples from the crime scene did not match the items taken from Mr. Davis' apartment or the device from his car. No physical evidence links Mr. Davis to this homicide. The prosecution's entire case hinged on Ms. Peters' testimony. The court observed that, "if Ms. Peters didn't testify against him, I wouldn't think the prosecution would have an awful lot of case". The court subsequently added that,"[t]he prosecution would have a real tough time convicting you without that evidence".

 

 

Mr. Hanner, a co-worker of Priscilla's, alleged that Priscilla told him that Mr. Davis had called her, the morning of this homicide, and threatened to kill her. This testimony was ruled out before trial, but now was allowed under MRE 803(2), an excited utterance. When the defense tried to elicit the whole statement, the prosecution objected that this was now hearsay. Here, the judge rules out, "Ms. Peters might kill he "even though it supports the defense's theory and bears on identity of the assailant, as being not material and not relevant, but allows the statement, "Mr. Davis threatened to kill her". After Mr. Hanner left the stand, the court told the jury the reason he allowed this testimony, which the court believed was the most crucial issue in this case, the identity of the perpetrator. Here, the court told the jury that it believed Mr. Davis was the perpetrator and the prosecution capitalized on this in his closing argument. Mr. Hanner's handwritten statement and a police interview argument are conflicting, clearly showing that this alleged conversation was not an excited utterance, both of these statements conflict with his testimony and shows that these were not the words of Priscilla but words of his own. Defense counsel did not present these statements to strengthen his objection to rule out this testimony.

 

 

Mr. Davis took the stand on his own behalf and testified that he did not kill his wife, nor was he involved in this murder. He was with their 4 yr. old daughter, received a page on his pager and made a phone call from Paw Paw at7:01 pm for 2 minutes to Priscilla's house but only received the answering machine, and he was not even in Berrien County that evening. There was no corroborating evidence presented by the defense, other than the phone bill showing the called he made from Paw Paw. Also, he had not seen Ms. Peters since about1:00 pm until he picked her up at about8:20 pm, where he thought was part of Kalamazoo.

 

 

On rebuttal, it was testified that it took a police officer 24 minutes to drive from Paw Paw to the Benton Harbor Exit 33, on I-94, traveling at 71 mph, which was still 5-6 miles, 4 stop signs, and reduced city speed limits from the crime scene. The undisclosed phone record of (616) 927-6068, showing the local calls, would clearly establish that Priscilla was home before7:00 pm and paged Mr. Davis and Priscilla's Certificate of Death states time of incident at 1915 hrs. (7:15 pm). It is physically impossible for Mr. Davis or anyone, to drive from Paw Paw to the crime scene in 12 minutes, half the time it took the police to drive from Exit 60 to Exit 33.

 

 

The prosecutor deliberately misstated crucial evidence and testimony presented at trial, in his closing argument and presented his own version of the alleged phone conversation between Mr.

Davis and his wife, that was not in evidence or testified to at trial.

 

 

Appellate counsel, Ms. Beckwith, filed a motion to remand which was denied for being untimely and without affidavit or proof of fact. Mr. Davis' convictions were confirmed by the Michigan

Court of Appeals on June 5, 1998. Application for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court was denied on March 30, 1999. A Motion for Relief from Judgment (MCR 6.500) and several other motions were denied on October 24, 2000, by the trial court indicating that Mr. Davis failed to satisfy the "actual prejudice" and "good cause "requirements set forth in MCR 6.508(D)(3)(A). The trial court denied the Motion for Subpoena for Phone Records stating that there was no meritorious basis for granting said motion. This evidence is exculpatory and would help establish Mr. Davis' innocence. Application for Leave to Appeal was filed with the Court of Appeals. Motion to waive fees was denied on January 24, 2001, ordering Mr. Davis to pay the entry fee of $250 and motion fees of $625, for a total of $925, within 21 days of the order or his appeal would be dismissed. A Motion for Reconsideration was filed and denied onMarch27, 2001, ordering Mr. Davis to pay $925 or withdraw all motions filed with his application and pay a fee of $325, within 21 days or his appeal would be dismissed. Presently, Mr. Davis has just filed an Application for Leave to Appeal an Order of the Court of Appeals, Motion for Immediate Consideration, Motion to Stay Proceedings, and a Motion to waive fees in the Michigan Supreme Court, on April 10, 2001.

 

 

Mickey Davis #133518

Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility

1727 Bluewater Highway

Ionia, MI 48846

 

Outside Contact:

Linda Stone, 426 Del Ray Ave., Canon City, CO 81212 / Tel:

(710) 269-3663 / e-mail:lcritter45@hotmail.com

 

 

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