CARROLLTON, Texas (AP) — A Texas man killed a 16-year-old girl who accused him of rape to prevent her from testifying against him, police said Monday. But the man insisted in a jailhouse interview he only wanted to talk to the teen and prove his innocence.
Franklin B. Davis, 30, of the Dallas suburb of Irving, was charged with capital murder Sunday in the death of Shania Gray. Gray was last seen alive Thursday afternoon at Hebron High School in nearby Carrollton. Her body was found Saturday in a secluded area near the Trinity River.
Carrollton police say Davis confessed to arranging a meeting with Gray under false pretenses, driving her to a trail near the river and shooting her twice with a .38-caliber pistol. According to an arrest affidavit, Gray fell into the river and called Davis by his nickname: "Why, Wish?"
Davis told police he then stepped on her neck until she stopped breathing, the affidavit said.
Carrollton police spokesman Jon Stovall said in an email that police believe Davis killed Gray because she was about to testify against him.
A spokeswoman for Gray's family, Sherry Ramsey, told The Dallas Morning News that Gray met Davis when she babysat his two children. Ramsey said that later, after the teen declined many requests to babysit, Gray told her grandmother that Davis had raped her.
The crime was reported to Mesquite police, and Davis was charged with four counts of sexual assault of a child.
Ramsey said Davis had warned Gray he would kill her if she told anyone about the assault.
According to an arrest warrant, Davis contacted Gray through social media and pretended to be someone else in an attempt to get information about the sexual assault case. Davis then used a pre-paid cellphone to set up a meeting with Gray at her high school on Thursday.
Davis told WFAA-TV in a jailhouse interview that he tracked Gray down because he wanted to prove his innocence in the sexual assault case.
"I needed to get some kind of evidence, some kind of proof myself to show I did not have sex with her and that she's lying," Davis told the television station.
Davis told authorities that Gray was surprised to see him but got into his car when he told her he wanted to talk to her about the sexual assault case. He said he then drove her to the remote area.
Stovall said police believe Gray was killed within an hour after she was picked up.
Davis was being held Monday in the Dallas County jail on $2 million bond. Attorneys listed for him did not return messages left Monday by The Associated Press.
Stengle reported from Dallas.