Franklin Davis guilty of capital murder in death of 16-year-old Shania Gray

By Jennifer Emily, Dallas Morning News

Update: Jurors this afternoon found Franklin Davis guilty of capital murder, making him eligible for the death penalty. The family of Shania Gray, Davis’ 16-year-old victim, sobbed quietly after state District Judge Mike Snipes read the verdict. Davis’ family left afterward.

The punishment phase will begin immediately.

Update: The jury is breaking for lunch until 12:45. They have sent notes asking to see specific exhibits, including a recording Davis made while talking to Shania when he pretended to be a man named “D.” They also asked to see the prosecution’s PowerPoint presentation that shows texts back and forth between Davis and Shania.

They will receive those items.

They also asked for a transcript of a video. They cannot have the transcript because it was not entered into evidence.

Original post 11:01 a.m.: A Dallas County jury is deliberating whether to find Franklin Davis guilty of murder or capital murder in the death of a 16-year-old girlwho accused him of rape.

Davis admitted to killing Shania Gray at an Irving park by shooting her twice and stepping in her throat in September 2012 — a month before she was expected to testify against him. If the jury finds Davis guilty of capital murder, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. To do so, jurors would have to believe Davis killed Gray to prevent her testimony.

Prosecutors Brandon Birmingham, Russell Wilson, Glen Fitzmartin and Hector Garza said that is exactly what Davis did. They told jurors in closing arguments that Shania, who told police Davis raped her she was babysitting his kids when she was 14 — never got a chance to take the witness stand and tell her story.

“You get to speak for Shania Gray even though the life was choked outof her by Franklin Davis,” Birmingham said.

But defense attorneys Karo Johnson, Phillip Hayes, Brady Wyatt and Doug Parks said Davis killed Shania because she ruined his life, not to prevent her testimony. Johnson told jurors prosecutors didn’t prove their case.

“They do the accuisn’. They gotta do the provin’,” Johnson said. Prosecutor Russell Wilson called Davis a “child molester” and said there is no doubt Davis killed Shania to prevent her testimony.

“You know it, I know it and he knows it,” Wilson told jurors. But Hayes said Davis’ actions “show a guy preparing for trial.” He said that law enforcement did not properly investigate the allegations and so Davis took it upon himself to look into them.

Davis called Shania pretending to be someone else and asked her about the alleged rapes. He also sent himself fake texts denying that allegations that appeared to come from Shania’s phone.

The day Shania was killed, she believed she was meeting the man she had been talking to on the phone. Instead, Davis showed up at her school in Carrollton.

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