TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Jurors convicted a man Thursday of snatching an 8-year-old girl from a Topeka apartment, raping her, killing her and stashing her body in a dryer.
The parents of Ahliyah Nachelle Irvin wept as the bailiff read that Shawnee County jurors had found 31-year-old Billy Frank Davis Jr. guilty of 10 counts, including capital murder, The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1urg89r) reported. Jurors will return Friday to hear more evidence before deciding whether to recommend that Davis receive the death penalty or life without parole.
Prosecutors said Davis killed the child in March 2012 to hide that he had sexually assaulted her. But the defense said Davis didn't have the mental wherewithal to form the intent to kill the girl because he been drinking and using cocaine.
The night before Ahliyah died, she played at a complex playground with other neighbor children and fell asleep in the living room on the main floor of the apartment. Her disappearance led to a frantic search of the townhome and the complex.
During the trial, the dryer in which her body was found was wheeled into the courtroom and shown to jurors.
Davis, who was found hiding in a creek bed, had a violent criminal history and had been placed on probation in another case the week before the killing.
Family members described Davis as an acquaintance of a family friend and said he had been living at the townhome complex at the time of Ahliyah's death. Police have said Davis told detectives he kidnapped and choked the girl during a flashback to his military service in Iraq.
The former coroner who performed the autopsy testified that the bruised girl had a tooth knocked out and that she died from asphyxia.
Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com