Ralph Davis


        About a decade ago, Ralph Davis became the first person in Missouri to be
prosecuted using DNA analysis. He was convicted and sentenced to death for
murdering Susan Davis, his estrangedwife in Columbia-- even though her bodywas never found. A few days ago, theMissouri Supreme Court, set his
execution for late the evening of April27, officially just past midnight, April 28.

        Boone County Prosecutor Joe Moseley (later a state senator) secured
the conviction with extensivecircumstantial evidence. The policeformally charged him 20 months after herdisappearance, soon after they found her
car-- the driver's side window shot out and its interior splattered with dried
blood and bone fragments-- in a JeffersonCity garage rented by Ralph Davis.
Samples of the tissue matched the DNA pattern of the couples'  children.Witnessestestified he had threatened to kill her; she had also filed a couple restraining orders against him after he had beaten her.

        While it seems certain he is guilty of the killing, we nonetheless condemn
the deliberate state killing of Ralph Davis (and his violence). He's still a human being with a Creator-given right to life, which no one should have to forfeit, even if they've committed a vile crime. We implore people of conscience to contact Gov. Mel Carnahan . Ask him to halt the execution, and commute Davis'sentence. Note the governor's address listed to the left, along with logistical specifics on protest vigils which will take place Tuesday, April 27.

            For more information:
                            Jeff Stack
    Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation
                    2018 Hazelwood Dr.
                    Columbia MO 65201
                    Phone 573-449-4585

Above information provided by Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation

            Davis received the death penalty for the 1986 death of his wife, Susan Davis.
              The body was never found, but there was a history of domestic violence,
                 and blood and human tissue, found to be hers, was found in his car.

                    IMPORTANT ASPECTS:

1. Incompetent counsel: Davis was offered a second-degree plea (a lesser
crime with no death sentence possible if Davis confessed) on condition
that the attorney not ask for a continuance.  Without telling Davis of the offer, he did ask for a continuance, and the result was a trial and death sentence. In his postconviction motions, his (second) private attorney did so little  work that the attorney's father filed some forms for him, wrongly, and they were thrown out, meaning that the issues can't be raised again.

2.  Circumstantial evidence: according to his current attorney, although the blood in his car was Susan Davis', no murder weapon or body was ever
found. He did put the car in storage afterwards; after some time, failure to pay rent resulted in examination of the car, and the blood was found.

3.  Mitigating circumstances: Davis has been diagnosed with dissociative
disorder, in which a traumatic event can trigger a blocking out of the trauma, or it can result in the person assuming another personality.  When this happens, a person may genuinely not remember events surrounding the trauma.  Along with this, childhood psychological abuse is in the record.  Davis had no real criminal record except for the charges of domestic abuse.

4.  Race: Davis is black; his wife was white.  The jury was all white, although there is no evidence of deliberate exclusion.  The prosecutor made some remarks with racial overtones: in referring to the Davises' small children, the prosecutor referred to "two strikes" against them, the first being loss of their mother, the second being their biracial status.

WHAT YOU CAN DO on or before Tuesday, April 27: Any part helps:

1. Ask Gov. Mel Carnahan to commute the sentence, 573/751-3222, fax 573/751-1495 (life in prison without parole is a statutory alternative to the death penalty for first degree murder); State Capitol, Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65101. In Kansas City: 889-3186; St. Louis: 340-6900

2. Candlelight vigil Tuesday, April 27, outside the prison at Potosi, 1:00pm-12:01am, near front gate of the Potosi Correctional Facility, Highway O, just off Highway 8, south off Hwy 21, or I-55 to Hwy 67 south to Hwy 8 west.

Other events Tuesday 4/27:
Columbia: 5:00-6:00 pm, Boone Co. Courthouse; 10:00 carpool to Jefferson
City; Jefferson City: 11:00 pm until 12:01 am, vigil, governor's mansion;
Kansas City: 4:45-5:45 pm, J.C. Nichols Fountain, in the Plaza;
Rolla: 4:00-5:00 p.m., at the Phelps County Courthouse St. Louis: 8:30-9:00pm, Municipal Courts, 1320 Market; 9:00pm, carpool to Potosi.
For update call 314-725-7527, 816-235-1600, 573-635-7239, 573-254-3993

Above information provided by Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty

        Please Help ! ! !

       Please contact Governor Mel Carnahan

                    phone 573-751-3222
                     or fax 573-751-1495

          Write Governor Carnahan

            Governor Mel Carnahan
                    Missouri State Capitol
                         P.O. Box  720
                 Jefferson City, MO 65101


                       Ms. Dora Schriro
          Director, Department of Corrections
                         2729 Plaza Drive
                               Box 236
                  Jefferson City, MO 6510

                                AP News Report After Ralph's Execution:

A 61-year-old man who killed his estranged wife was executed by injection early Wednesday, the oldest Missouri inmate put to death since capital punishment was reinstated in 1977.
Previously, the oldest inmate executed since Missouri resumed the death penalty in 1989 was Emmett Nave, who was 55 when he was put to death in 1996.
Ralph Davis was convicted of killing his wife, Susan, in part on the strength of DNA evidence. The body of the 35-year-old woman was never found.
His last words, in a written statement, were to his son and daughter-in-law: "My body is gone but my spirit is with you. I'm just going to sleep. Love you. Dad."
Mrs. Davis disappeared in 1986 after leaving her job at Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Columbia. 3 weeks earlier, she had filed assault charges against her husband. She claimed he was abusive and had once held
a gun to her head.
On the same day she vanished, prosecutors said, Davis bought a .12-gauge shotgun from a sporting goods store. Davis told police he didn't know what had become of his wife.  He claimed she abused drugs and speculated that she had run away with another man, perhaps to Texas.
Investigators lacked solid evidence until 1988, when they found the woman's car in Davis' storage locker near Jefferson City. Shotgun pellets had blasted through the driver's side window. Bone fragments, blood and
human tissue were found inside.  The investigators were looking for her 1986 Ford Escort since Davis had failed to keep up with payments.
A medical examiner determined there was so much blood it could only have resulted from a fatal wound. DNA evidence showed that Mrs. Davis was the victim.
In appeals to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, and in a clemency request to Carnahan, Davis claimed bad lawyers put him in his predicament.
Davis was originally charged with 2nd-degree murder in the death of his wife.  The 1st-degree murder charge was filed only after Davis' original lawyer filed for a continuance in the original case. Prosecutors had warned that if the continuance was filed, they wouldupgrade the charge to 1st-degree murder.
"What lawyer would put his client at risk like that?" Davis asked.
Susan Davis' mother and brother have said that if Davis admitted to the crime, and said where he hid her body, they would consider joining in a clemency request.
"Why should I do that when I didn't do anything?" Davis said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Robert Davis, the couple's 21-year-old son, was reunited Monday with his father for the 1st time since Robert and his sister, now 17, were taken away following the arrest of Ralph Davis in 1988.
"I love him," Robert Davis told the AP. "He is my last living parent. Despite the fact of what he's accused of, he's still my dad."
Davis' attorney, Elizabeth Carlyle, said he suffers from a disorder that causes him to block out traumatic events. Even if he committed the crime, he wouldn't remember it, she said.
Ralph Davis, then a Columbia insurance agent, told police he didn't know what had become of his wife. He claimed she abused drugs and speculatedthat she had run away with another man, perhaps to Texas.
Prior to the national moratorium on the death penalty, Allen Lambis, 73, died in the gas chamber in Jefferson City in 1944 for a murder in Mississippi County. John Williamson, 63, was executed in 1939 for a murder in Ste. Genevieve County. Davis becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri, and the 37th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Jan. 6, 1989.
Missouri has never executed more than 6 men in a year. That total could be matched by the end of May. Jessie Lee Wise is scheduled to die by injection May 26 for beating a woman to death with a pipe wrench in
suburban St. Louis in 1988.
Darrell Mease was scheduled for execution in February for killing the paraplegic grandson of his former drug partner. But Carnahan commuted Mease's sentence to life in prison after a personal request from Pope
John Paul II during the pope's January visit to St. Louis.
Davis also becomes the 37th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA, and the 537th overall since America resumed capital punishment on Jan. 17, 1977.
(sources:  Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

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This page was last updated June 2, 2001       Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
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