April 1, 2011 in City

Mistrial declared after surprise testimony

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A judge has declared a mistrial in the case against a Spokane Valley man who was facing up to 50 years in prison over an alleged attack on his ex-girlfriend and his former best friend.

Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque halted the trial Wednesday because information that hadn’t been provided in advance to the lawyer defending 29-year-old Don R. Davis was given to jurors considering his guilt or innocence.

The information came from a prosecution witness who testified that Davis had admitted to possessing a gun that investigators said was used in a drive-by shooting.

Defense attorney Rob Cossey objected because that information had not been presented to him by the witness or by Deputy Prosecutor Gayle Ervin in preparation for the trial.

“It was completely out of the blue. It was out of the witness’s mouth before I could do anything,” Cossey said. “I asked for a mistrial and the judge granted it.”

Davis faced 10 criminal charges, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, following a series of events that began on Oct. 4, 2009, with a wild vehicle chase on Interstate 90. According to court testimony, Davis attempted to force his former best friend, Clayton Cooper, off the roadway and caused several collisions.

Davis was also charged with breaking into an apartment and stealing a shotgun that witnesses said was used in a drive-by shooting a few days later. Just minutes after that event, deputies conducted a search and found the stolen gun in the trunk of the car Davis was driving, according to court testimony.

Based on all the charges, Davis faces as much as 411 months in prison plus about 200 months for the weapons charges, said Cossey, who argued in court on Tuesday that the case was “way overcharged.”

A hearing has been set for Wednesday in which Davis is expected to plead guilty to some of the charges.

“We think we can reach a resolution,” Cossey said, “but it doesn’t include the attempted murder charges.”


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