Capital murder charge filed in Topeka girl's death
Posted by Laura McCallister, Multimedia Producer - email
TOPEKA, KS (AP) -
A 28-year-old Topeka man was charged Friday with sexually assaulting and killing an 8-year-old girl, whose family said she was sleeping when she was snatched from a neighboring apartment.
The capital murder charge filed against Billy Frank Davis Jr. in Shawnee County District Court gives prosecutors the option of seeking the death penalty.
Davis was found hiding in a creek bed Tuesday morning, just hours after Ahliyah Irvin's body was found and after a man matching Davis' description tried to run inside an elementary school. Davis also is charged with rape of a child, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, burglary to a residence and criminal damage to property.
Davis, who had been placed on probation in another violent case just last week, is being held in the Shawnee County Jail on $10 million bond.
A worker at the Northeast Kansas Conflicts Office said there would be no comment from Davis' attorney, Mark Manna. Calls to the prosecutor's office rang unanswered, and the jail declined to leave a message for Davis.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported earlier that Ahliyah and her siblings had been living with a close family friend at a housing complex called the Highland Park Townhomes. After playing at a complex playground with other neighbor children Monday night, Ahliyah ate supper and fell asleep in the living room on the main floor.
Family friend Melinda Weeden stayed the night at the home of her daughter, Alysia Majette, after she got off work. Weeden said she was awakened around 4:40 a.m. Tuesday by Angela Ortega, Ahliyah's mother, and was told the girl was missing.
Family members and friends frantically scoured the townhome and the complex. They even knocked on doors, including the one where Davis lived, Weeden said.
"He slammed the door in their face," Weeden said.
The family called police minutes later and Ahliyah's body was found at the complex within the hour.
Family members described Davis as an acquaintance of a family friend and said he had been living at the townhome complex at the time of Ahliyah's death.
Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller has called the killing a "particularly heinous crime."
Court records show Davis was sentenced last week to two years of intensive supervised probation after he was convicted of aggravated assault and aggravated battery. The charges stemmed from a Dec. 30, 2011, attack in a central Topeka apartment where gunshots were fired and a man was beaten with a chair.
That man, Larry Smith, told the Capital-Journal that Davis pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed.
According to judge's notes contained in court documents, Davis was a veteran and was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Corrections department records also show that Davis had prior convictions in 2009 and 2010 in Geary County that included criminal threat, domestic battery, criminal damage and violation of a protective order.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-09-03 03:12:05 GMT
The World Food Program says it provided food to a record 4.1 million people inside Syria last month.More >
Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warning President Barack Obama that as long as U.S. airstrikes against the militant...More >
Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:42:09 GMT
Canadian police say pop star Justin Bieber has been charged with dangerous driving and assault after a collision between a minivan and an ATV led to a physical altercation in southwestern Ontario.More >
Canadian pop star Justin Bieber faces new charges after he was arrested for dangerous driving and assault following a collision between a minivan and an ATV that led to a physical altercation involving a photographer, his...More >