By Scott Martin & Natalie Martinez/KTXS News
EASTLAND, Texas -- An Eastland County jury on Thursday sentenced a 53-year-old Ranger man to 99 years in prison for the murder of his neighbor's boyfriend.
Police said Donald Davis shot Bobby Blair to death in June 2016.
The murder occurred in an alley outside Blair's girlfriend’s home and near where Davis lived -- in the 1300 block of Young Street in Eastland County.
It took the jury 90 minutes to decide on the sentencing.
On Wednesday, the jury took 32 minutes before returning the guilty verdict against Davis. Day 2 of the trial consisted of testimonies and deliberation.
Eastland County District Attorney Russell Thomason called Texas Ranger Shane Morrow to the stand to review Davis’s interrogation video. The jury saw and heard Davis tell Morrow he killed Blair. The prosecution then showed a separate interview where Davis contradicts where Blair was at the time of the murder, where he grabbed his weapon and when he called 911.
The state then rested at 10:55 a.m. Defense attorney Tommy Adams, appointed from Brownwood, asked outside of the jury’s presence to submit a document he said contained Blair’s criminal history.
The court then asked investigator Kenneth Preston to the stand to explain the information inside the record. Preston said the document was a protective order against Blair, specifically for officers if they came into counter with him. An officer could pull up Blair’s information and the order would protect tells them he has violent tendencies. The defense was able to present this before the jury.
The defense then presented Timothy Casey, a neighbor who lives near Davis’s home. He testified that a man drove up to Davis’s home and pulled up in a truck while the two were paving gravel in his driveway. He said he couldn’t identify the man at the time. Casey said the man told Davis, “I’m going to get you,” and then held out his hand in the shape of a gun. Casey said he was later told by Davis that man was Blair.
Bobby Johnson, Blair’s ex-girlfriend took the stand. Adams questioned her about Blair’s history with meth. She said that was one of the reasons she left him. She said they remained close even after their break up she said and that is why Blair was at her home picking up laundry the night he was killed.
The defense then rested by noon Wednesday.
The state began closing arguments saying Davis called police on five different occasions saying someone was harassing him. Thomason said Davis only told police once it was Blair. He then showed the jury a picture of where Blair was found dead on the ground. Thomason said given where he was located, there was no way Blair was charging at Davis, referring to the interview that was recorded.
Thomason then pointed out the inaccuracies in Davis’s recorded interviews, saying Davis claimed he placed the gun behind the front door instead of the bedroom door. In a drawing, Davis’s girlfriend, Diane Rodriquez, drew the bedroom was in the back of their home. Lastly he brought up another inconsistency found in the two different video recordings: the lifeline button. Davis is disabled and has a button that immediately calls 911 for help. Thomason said Davis told investigators he pushed the button after he shot Blair, but in a second recorded interview he says he pushed it before. In the lifeline video, Thomason said you can hear Davis tell Rodriguez he was going to have to go to jail.
Adams argued Davis admitted to shooting Blair but that it was out of self-defense. He talked about Davis’s reports of Blair’s harassment to the police and witnesses who testified to the ongoing problems the two had, including an instance in which a neighbor testified to Blair threatening Davis.
The jury began deliberating at 2:08 p.m. and then announced their verdict at 2:40 p.m. Davis was found guilty of murder.
The prosecution then brought to the jury’s attention Davis’s prior convictions. Davis was incarcerated in Baltimore, Maryland back in 1992 for assault with intent to use a deadly weapon. Davis served eight years in prison. The state then brought up Davis’s other two charges in Ranger, TX. He received a DWI and a terroristic threat charge.
The punishment phase began at 3:40 p.m. with several witnesses taking the stand, including Blair’s mother, Cheryl Blair, who described her son’s character. She choked back tears and told the jury about her middle child, who left behind two children with grandchildren he will never meet.
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