DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas-area man is now facing a possible death sentence after being convicted Tuesday of killing his children's baby sitter to silence her from testifying that he raped her.
Franklin Davis admitted in court to killing 16-year-old Shania Gray, describing how he lured her into his car outside her school, shot her and dumped her body in a river. But he said he killed her out of revenge and hatred, not to obstruct the sexual assault case that was nearing trial.
The jurors who found Davis guilty of capital murder will now decide whether to sentence him to death or life imprisonment without parole eligibility. Testimony in the penalty phase of the trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.
Gray was remembered after her death as a vivacious, friendly girl who often played basketball in the family driveway. Most people did not know she was at the center of the sexual assault case against Davis.
Her mother told police in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite that Davis sexually assaulted Gray while she was baby-sitting his children. Davis, known by the nickname "Wish," exposed himself and had sex with the girl four separate times in 2011, according to a police affidavit.
Davis continued to deny the allegations at his murder trial.
"She lied," Davis said on the stand, according to Dallas television station KTVT. "She ruined my life. She took everything from me, everything I work so hard to get. She took it."
In the days before he killed Gray, Davis called and sent her text messages pretending to be a boy and asking her questions about the sexual assault case. The day of the killing, Gray got a text message saying her new friend was outside her school to surprise her.
Davis' defense attorneys argued that he was trying to do his own investigation after police did not. But prosecutors scoffed at that notion.
"You know it, I know it and he knows it," prosecutor Russell Wilson told jurors, according to The Dallas Morning News.