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Ex-lover on trial for attempted murder, drive-by shooting

Wed., March 30, 2011

The criminal trial began Tuesday for a Spokane Valley man facing a list of charges, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, in a case the prosecution presented as an angry, drug-induced ex-lover threatening both his former girlfriend and his former best friend.

Don R. Davis, 29, faces a total of 10 charges, including first-degree burglary, drive-by shooting and violation of a no-contact order, in a trial being argued in front of Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque.

Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Gayle Ervin told the jury that Davis disapproved of the new relationship between his former girlfriend, Nicole Allen, and his former best friend, Clayton Cooper. The dispute culminated on Oct. 4, 2009, when Davis confronted the couple as they tried to leave Cooper’s home.

Davis “followed in a gold Chrysler Sebring and the defendant rammed the back of (Cooper’s) pickup with his car,” Ervin said.

The chase included several collisions, Davis waving a baseball bat, and it exceeded speeds of 100 mph on Interstate 90 before other motorists helped force Davis to take the Barker Road exit, Ervin said.

“The state believes that once you have heard all the testimony, you will find him guilty as charged on all counts,” Ervin said.

But when Allen took the witness stand, she said she couldn’t remember much of what Ervin said occurred. Allen also testified that the chase only reached speeds of 60 to 80 mph.

Allen said she and Davis have a child together and that she had known him all her life. “Our parents are best friends,” she said.

“Do you remember when the threats began?” Ervin asked Allen.

“Not a date, no,” Allen replied.

When prodded with information about the day of the confrontation, Allen said she remembered seeing Davis approach Cooper’s pickup prior to the chase.

“I figured they were going to get in an altercation. (Davis) just found me with his best friend,” Allen said.

“Did he ever threaten to kill you?” Ervin asked Allen, who replied: “Never directly.”

Ervin then read from a statement Allen gave a deputy on Oct. 4, 2009, in which she said Davis “has threatened to kill both of us.”

Defense attorney Rob Cossey told the jury in his opening statement that his client indeed committed several crimes during the confrontation with Cooper and Allen, but that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove several of the crimes – including the drive-by shooting – in a case that he called “way overcharged.”

“If this case was as simple and straightforward as (Ervin) said, there would be no reason for us to be here,” Cossey said.

Davis is expected to testify about “how out of control he was that week,” Cossey said.

“He is going to tell you that he possessed cocaine and that alcohol and cocaine cause him to act irrationally,” he said. Davis “committed crimes. But it is up to you to decide what crimes and to what degree.”

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