Facts of the Crime:
Davis was sentenced to death in 1992 for the October 12, 1990 slaying of Jane Daniel of Rogers.
Facts of the Crime:
Davis was sentenced to death in 1992 for the October 12, 1990 slaying of Jane Daniel of Rogers.
July 10, 2007
Appeals Court Lifts Execution Stay Against Man----Victim's stepson, Rogers officer wait for execution
A ruling from the 8th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals may pave the way for the execution of Don William Davis, convicted in the 1990 murder of Jane Daniel of Rogers.
The judges on Monday lifted a stay of execution entered last July by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright.
Davis, now 44, was set to be executed in 2006 but claimed death by lethal injection was unconstitutional because of the potential that he might not die quickly enough and therefore would suffer pain.
Daniel's survivors remain skeptical about Davis' eventual death, as the family traveled to Pine Bluff, near Varner, for Davis' scheduled July 5, 2006, execution.
Davis is in the Varner Supermax unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction.
"We just need to see where it leads. It has kind of started the process again. We have been through it before," said Larry Daniel of Rogers, Jane Daniel's stepson, of Monday's ruling.
"It gets very emotional. You kind of relive everything. It's one of those things that you want to get it done, so you can put it behind you and move forward," Larry Daniel said. "We are still waiting for the orders of the court to be carried out."
Gov. Mike Beebe's office is aware the 8th Circuit 3-judge panel lifted the stay against Davis, according to Matt DeCample, Beebe's spokesman.
If Davis has no more appeals, the attorney general's office will request Beebe to set Davis' execution date, DeCample said.
Alvin Schay of Little Rock, Davis' attorney since about 2000, said Davis has at least three more chances to avoid the death penalty.
Schay said he has 14 days to file a petition for a rehearing with all the 8th Circuit judges. If that is denied, Schay would file a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.
A writ of certiorari is an order from a higher court asking the lower court to send all documents in a case for review. The U.S. Supreme Court grants writs at its discretion and only when at least 3 justices believe the case involves a significant federal question in the public interest.
If the Supreme Court denies a writ of certiorari, the lower court decision stands.
Davis also could ask Beebe for clemency, Schay said.
Davis killed Jane Daniel at her Twin Lakes Estates home on Oct. 12, 1990. Davis shot her execution-style with a .44 Magnum and stole items from the home, including jewelry.
Davis was convicted in 1992, filed an unsuccessful appeal in 1994 and was scheduled for execution by lethal injection on Nov. 22, 1999.
However, the Supreme Court stayed Davis' 1999 execution to consider pending appeals.
Davis in June 2001 claimed he did not want to appeal his death sentence after the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Davis did not have an ineffective attorney at trial and denied his request for a new trial.
Wright issued a stay of execution last year after Davis appealed again. Davis' appeal came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Florida case that an appeal could be heard on the grounds the drug combination used in that state could cause pain, constituting cruel and unusual punishment.
After Monday's 8th Circuit ruling, a detective who investigated Daniel's murder said it was time for Davis' death.
"Last year's execution date was well past the time justice should been carried out. Now it is certainly time for justice to be done," said Capt. Ron Largent of the Rogers Police Department.
"I am taking a wait-and-see attitude," said Capt. Mike Jones of the Benton County Sheriff's Office. The former Rogers police chief directed the murder investigation.
"It should have already been taken care of," Jones said of Davis' execution. "I never cease to be amazed at the tricks some people can pull out of their hats."
Betsey Wright, a Rogers resident opposed to the death penalty, said the ultimate punishment is unfairly administered. There are no statewide standards on who gets the death penalty and who is allowed to live, she said.
"There are many people not on death row who committed murders identical to those that some who are on death row have committed," she said.
The death penalty also runs contrary to Christian values and the values of democracy, Wright said, but she doesn't hold out hope for Davis.
"I'm not optimistic that I can prevent his death," she said.
(Source: The Morning News)
October 5, 2007
Nov. 8 execution date set for Benton County death-row inmate
Gov. Mike Beebe on Thursday set a Nov. 8 execution date for death-row inmate Don William Davis, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to consider a Kentucky case challenging lethal injection, the same method used in Arkansas.
Davis was sentenced to death for the 1990 slaying of Jane Daniel of Rogers.
Beebe said this week he planned to continue to set execution dates and would let the courts decide whether a stay should be issued.
The governor has already set an Oct. 16 execution date for Jack Harold Jones Jr., sentenced to death in the 1991 rape and strangulation of a Bald Knob bookkeeper whose daughter also was severely beaten in the attack.
U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright has denied Jones' request for a stay and he has appealed her decision to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.
Earlier this year, the governor set a Sept. 18 execution date for Terrick Nooner, sentenced to death in the 1993 shooting death of a 22-year-old college student, but a federal appeals court issued a stay.
The legal challenge by two Kentucky death-row inmates is similar to a legal challenge in Arkansas federal court filed by Jones and joined by Nooner, Davis and death-row inmate Frank Williams Jr.
Williams was sentenced to death in the 1992 slaying of a Bradley man while he was on a work-release program for the Department of Correction.
Jones' attorney Jeff Rosenzweig said the lawsuit argues that the fatal 3-drug cocktail used in Arkansas is unconstitutional because the person is paralyzed "and put in extreme pain" before the drugs take effect and end the person's life.
November 1, 2007
Nov. 8 execution of convicted killer Davis called off
The execution of death-row inmate Don William Davis will not go forward as planned after a federal judge granted a stay and the state attorney general decided Wednesday not to appeal, while a Kentucky case challenging lethal injection is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gov. Mike Beebe agreed with Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's decision, and will allow his order setting the Nov. 8 execution date for Davis to expire, Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said.
"We agree with the attorney general's office interpretation of recent legal events," DeCample said.
Davis was the 3rd death-row inmate in Arkansas whose scheduled execution this fall was stayed because of the Kentucky case and a similar lawsuit filed by Arkansas death-row prisoner Terrick Nooner. Both Davis and death-row inmate Jack Harold Jones Jr. have signed on to Nooner's lawsuit.
Nationwide, at least a dozen states using lethal injection have put executions on hold because of legal challenges to the procedure.
U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright on Tuesday granted Davis' request for a stay, saying in her written order that it would not make sense to deny the request when a federal appeals court has already allowed a stay of Jones's Oct. 16 execution.
"The Court finds no rational basis for granting a stay of execution for Jones and denying the same for Davis. Accordingly, the Court finds that Davis's motion should be granted," Webber said.
Gabe Holmstrom, a spokesman for McDaniel, noted in announcing that the office would not appeal Wright's ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a Mississippi execution with an hour to spare on Tuesday.
"Although the Supreme Court still has not specifically said so, the attorney general believes that ruling sends the clear signal that the majority of the Court intends to stay all executions until the Kentucky case is decided. Accordingly, the attorney general does not believe an appeal of the stay is warranted," Holmstrom said.
Holmstrom said McDaniel would not seek to lift any of the other Arkansas stays until the Supreme Court rules in the Kentucky case.
In the Supreme Court case, 2 Kentucky death-row inmates claim the mix of drugs used in many of the 36 states that perform lethal injections violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Nooner's suit involves the 3 drugs used in Arkansas - an anesthetic, a muscle paralyzer and a substance to stop the heart. The suit claims that, if a condemned prisoner is not given enough anesthetic, he can suffer "excruciating pain" without being able to cry out.
Nooner was to be executed Sept. 18 for the March 16, 1993, shooting death of Scot Stobaugh, 22, a student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
But while a state appeal was pending on a federal court decision granting a stay, Beebe called off the execution. Beebe also halted preparations for Jones' scheduled execution while the state appealed a stay he won in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Jones was convicted of the 1991 rape and slaying of Bald Knob bookkeeper Mary Phillips and an attack on her 11-year-old daughter. Prosecutors accused him of strangling Phillips 1st with his hands and later with a cord of a nearby coffee maker during the June 6, 1995, attack.
Davis was convicted in the 1990 execution-style slaying of Jane Daniel of Rogers. Prosecutors said Davis broke into a home next door to Daniel's on Oct. 12, 1990, and stole a variety of items, including a .44-caliber Redhawk Magnum revolver.
(Source: The Associated Press)
January 25, 2010
Governor sets execution date
LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe today set an April 12 execution date for condemned killer Don William Davis.
It’s the second execution date set by the governor since a state Supreme Court ruling last fall that upheld the state’s lethal injection procedures.
On Jan. 14 the governor set a March 16 execution date for Jack Harold Jones Jr., convicted of murder and sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and slaying of Bald Knob bookkeeper Mary Phillips and an attack on her 11-year-old daughter.
Davis was convicted in the 1990 execution-style slaying of Jane Daniel of Rogers.
He had been scheduled for execution Nov. 8, 2007, but a judge issued a stay pending the outcome of a lethal injection challenge in Kentucky that was before the U.S. Supreme Court at that time.
The law in Kentucky was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. The Arkansas Legislature last year wrote Arkansas’ lethal injection procedures into law, and the state Supreme Court turned away a challenge to the law brought by Arkansas inmates.
March 10, 2010
Inmate deposition OK'd for post-execution trial
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - A judge says an inmate set to be executed next month can be interviewed on camera in the case of a death penalty opponent accused of trying to smuggle contraband into a maximum-security prison.
Circuit Judge Jodi Dennis ruled Wednesday that attorneys for Betsey Wright can videotape Don Davis, who is to be executed a month before Wright's trial in May. For seven years Wright was chief of staff for Bill Clinton when he was Arkansas governor.
Dennis also granted Wright access to records involving smuggling among guards and other attorneys.
Prosecutors say Wright was caught with a pocketknife, boxcutter and a potato chip bag filled with tattoo needles while trying to visit Davis last May.
Wright pleaded not guilty. She said the bag of chips came from a prison vending machine.
April 5, 2010
ARKANSAS----stay of 2 impending executions
A federal judge today stayed the scheduled executions of 2-death row inmates who joined a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' lethal injection procedure.
U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes dismissed the lawsuit but stayed the executions of condemned killers Don W. Davis and Stacey Eugene Johnson pending appeal. Davis was set to die April 12 and Johnson was scheduled to die May 4.
Last month, death-row inmate Jack Harold Jones Jr. filed a lawsuit challenging the state Methods of Execution Act, approved last year by the Legislature. The lawsuit claims the law is unconstitutional because it hinders his ability to pursue a legal claim by denying him access to the actual lethal injection protocol that will be used to execute him.
Holmes agreed to hear Jones lawsuit and stayed his scheduled March 16 execution. Davis, Johnson and 4 other death-row inmates later were allowed to intervene in the case.
In today's ruling, Holmes described the lawsuit as "speculation," but granted the stays for Davis and Johnson because he had previously granted a stay for Jones.
"The issues raised are serious and the plaintiffs are entitled to appeal the dismissal of their complaint," Holmes wrote. "Absent a stay of execution, Davis and Johnson could suffer irreparable harm. The balance of harm and public interest support a stay of execution."
Davis was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the 1990 execution-style slaying of Jane Daniel of Rogers.
Johnson was sentenced to death for the 1993 slaying of Carol Health, who was killed in her De Queen apartment.
Jones was sentenced to death for raping and killing Bald Knob bookkeeper Mary Phillips in 1995. Phillips' daughter also was severely beaten in the attack.
(Source: The Arkansas News Bureau)
April 10, 2010
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal appeals court has lifted stays of execution for two Arkansas death-row inmates, one of them scheduled to be put to death Monday.
A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, on Friday decided to lift the stays that had been imposed last Monday.
Jeff Rosenzweig of Little Rock, lawyer for one of the inmates, Stacey W. Johnson, said he would ask for reconsideration of the matter by the full 8th Circuit Court, "and if that's unsuccessful, we'll go to the U.S. Supreme Court."
The other inmate involved in Friday's ruling by the 8th Circuit, Don W. Davis, is scheduled to be executed Monday. He was given the death penalty for the 1990 execution-style slaying of Jane Daniel of Rogers. His lawyer, Deborah R. Sallings, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
April 12, 2010
Court issues stay in scheduled execution
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay of execution for death-row inmate Don W. Davis this afternoon, just hours before he was to be put to death in the 1990 death of a Rogers woman.
In a two-page ruling, Justice Robert Brown said the stay was needed to allow a Pulaski County circuit judge to hear a lawsuit that argues the state’s Method of Execution Act violates the separation-of-powers clause of the state constitution.
“At this writing, it is unknown whether the separation-of-powers argument made by the death-row inmates will prevail in state court, so as to render (the law) unconstitutional,” Brown wrote.
The last execution in Arkansas was in November 2005, when Eric Nance was put to death by lethal injection.
Davis’ attorney, Deborah Sallings, said she was pleased by the ruling but had not discussed it with Davis, who was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the 1990 execution-style slaying of Jane Daniel of Rogers.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said he was disappointed with the high court’s ruling.
“My heart goes out to the family of Mrs. Daniel,” McDaniel said at a news conference. “I do not agree with the decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court and we will have to work our way through it.”
The stay was the second for Davis in the hours before he was to be executed.
In 2007, he received a stay just hours before he was to die by injection, as family and friends of Daniels waited outside the gates of the Cummins Unit where Arkansas’ death chamber is located.
“As frustrated as we are, it is absolutely nothing compared to what that family is experiencing,” McDaniel said today.
The lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court, filed by condemned killer Jack Harold Jones Jr., alleges the Legislature gave the state Department of Correction too much authority in establishing execution protocols in the 2009 Arkansas Method of Execution Act.
“I think it is ludicrous to allege that the Department of Correction may at the last minute change their execution protocols,” McDaniel said. “It is a hypothetical question, but on that basis the Supreme Court has halted the execution six hours before it was to take place.”
Davis is an intervenor in Jones’ lawsuit.
On Friday, a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis dissolved stays of execution for both Davis and Stacey Eugene Johnson, who is scheduled to be executed May 4.
Johnson was sentenced to death for the 1993 slaying of Carol Heath, who was killed in her De Queen apartment.
The state has filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss Jones’ lawsuit.
Jones was scheduled to be executed March 16, but the 8th Circuit has previously issued a stay.
On June 21, 2010, the US Supreme Court denied Davis' certiorari petition.
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