LIVE BLOG: William Davis has been sentenced to death for murdering patients as a CHRISTUS nurse

State News

1:35 p.m.

A Smith County jury has sentenced William Davis to death for murdering multiple patients while a nurse at CHRISTUS.

The jury deliberated for just under two hours. His case will be automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

1:15 p.m.

A verdict has been reached by the jury after nearly two hours of deliberations.

11:15 a.m.

Jury begins deliberations on whether to sentence William Davis to death.

11:13 a.m.

“He took a month off from murdering people after his daughter was born. Only a month. That’s what his family means to him,” Putman says of Davis.

11:05 a.m.

“It’s hard enough to hear about it. But you don’t have to live it. It wasn’t your parent that was murdered As hard as it was for you to hear about it, it wasn’t hard for him to do it,” Putman says.

11:02 a.m.

“There was a floor full of people at the hospital trying to figure it out and that didn’t stop him and yet the defense wants to argue that a guard to inmate ratio of 1-to-80 will stop him if he has life without parole,” Putman says while arguing for the death penalty.

10:58 a.m.

“Somebody who picks innnocent victims who are helpless and one at a time over a year, you kill them for no other reason than they want to: We don’t have stats for people like that,” Putman says of Dr. Compton’s testimony.

10:54 a.m.

Parks is done with his closing argument. DA Jacob Putman to give the rebuttal argument for the story.”I don’t think he’s going to think about what he’s done,” he opens with.

10:52 a.m.

“Mercy is not something a person earns. It’s a gift,” Parks said to the jury. He says he knows Putman will say to show Davis the same mercy he showed his victims: none.
“But that misses the point of mercy,” he says.

10:47 a.m.

“Search your hearts to see if there is anything that justifies a life penalty rather than the death penalty,”Parks say to the jury.

10:39 a.m.

“The thought of missing 2 graduations, 2 marriages, 2 sets of grandchildren, and seeing them grow into responsible human beings are precious. And it’s his fault. And that’s punishment ladies and gentleman.”

Defense attorney Douglas Parks cried while saying this.

10:36 a.m.

“This is not about what Will Davis deserves…Your decision here today is whether or not he will be a continuing danger in reality (of prison).”

10:32 a.m.

“We only execute those people who will in probability continue to kill… It doesn’t depend on what has happened in the past,” Parks says to the jury.

10:27 a.m.

Long has finished his argument for the prosecution. Assistant defense attorney Douglas Parks is giving the defense closing argument.

10:25 a.m.

“What was mitigating for him to do this? Seriously? What could ever be sufficiently mitigating for a serial killer?” Long asks the jury when weighing the evidence for death vs. life without parole.

“Someone is going to be sentenced to death today: William Davis or his next victim in prison. And it’s up to you,” Long says to the jury.

10:19 a.m.

Long goes after Davis’ explanation to his ex-wife that he did it to extend their hospital stay as a lie. “He ended their life. He extinguished their need to be in the hospital.”

10:11 a.m.

“William Davis liked it. It’s not just that he didn’t care. It’s almost like he got a charge out of other people’s pain,” Long says to the jury.

10:08 a.m.

Prosecutor Lance Long opens the closing arguments for the state.

Long opens by apologizing to the jury for all they have been through the last three months.”But although I apologize, justice is not always easy. But it is always right.”

9:55 a.m.

Judge Jackson has brought the jury back and he is reading the jury their instructions.

9:17 a.m.

The defense has ended their questioning of Dr. Compton.

They have rested their case. Jackson is giving the jury an extended break. Final arguments will begin at 9:50 a.m. William Davis says he will not testify before final arguments.

9:11 a.m.

The prosection passes questioning of Dr. Compton back to the defense.

They ask if the choice of a district attorney to seek the death penalty for a defendant had an impact on potential future violence in prison. Compton said there is no evidence to suggest that.

9:05 a.m.

Long asks Compton how many defendants in this study were serial killers. Compton says 0 because serial killers are incredibly rare.

9:00 a.m.

The prosecution is now questioning Dr. Compton.

Lance Long: You’re telling me only 5 inmates were murdered in all of Texas in 2020?

Compton: Correct.

Long: So Mr. Davis in one year from ’16-’17 singlehandedly killed more people in a hospital than all prisoners?

Compton: Correct.

8:55 a.m.

Dr. Compton says research has shown capital murder defendants are no more likely to be violent than any other inmates in prison.
High-risk factors for being violent in prison:

  • – Those convicted of drug offenses
  • – Being in a gang
  • – Being under the age of 30

8:42 a.m.

Dr. Compton did not do a risk assessment on Davis. She says she is testifying merely to provide educational background.

8:35 a.m.

Judge Jackson has called the court to order and brought the jury in.

The defense calls Dr. Christy Compton, a psychologist who conducts clinical evaluations for courts, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. She has evaluated murderers and sex offenders.

Original Story

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – After gut-wrenching testimony on Tuesday from family members of William Davis’ victims ended Smith County prosecutors’ case that William Davis should be sentenced to death, the defense team began their plea for him to be sentenced to life without parole.

Davis was a former nurse at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler at their cardiovascular ICU wing and was convicted of capital murder last week for killing multiple patients. Under Texas law, the only two sentencing options are life without parole or the death penalty.

His legal team faces an uphill battle due to a large number of victims in the case as well as phone calls that were placed by Davis from jail last week where he admitted to killing patients to his ex-wife and berated the jury to his brother. These calls took place just hours after the verdict and were played for the jury to hear Friday afternoon.

The defense called a handful of witnesses after the prosecution rested their case for a death sentence Tuesday morning. They called to the stand his brother, a friend from high school and an old football coach.

They said they would have more evidence to present Wednesday morning. It was unclear how long their side may take to present its case, but it is likely the case will be done by the end of the week.

The jury will be asked to answer the following two questions:

  • Is there a probability that Davis would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society?
  • If they answer yes to the question above, they will be asked if there is sufficent mitigating circumstances to warrant a sentence of life imprisoment without parole rather than a death sentence?

A “yes” answer to Question One and a “no” answer to Question Two must be unanimous to have a death sentence be imposed by 114th District Court Judge Austin Jackson.

If the jury is unable to reach an answer to either question, 114th District Court Judge Austin Jackson would be required to hand down a sentence of life without parole.

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