TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man convicted of raping and killing an 8-year-old Topeka girl before stuffing her body in a clothes dryer will not face the death penalty, after a jury could not decide unanimously to impose such a sentence.
Under Kansas law, the decision announced Tuesday by a Shawnee County jury means Billy Frank Davis Jr., 31, will be sentenced to life with no chance of parole for the death of Ahliyah Nachelle Irvin. Davis was convicted last week of 10 counts, including capital murder, and will be formally sentenced Feb. 13.
Prosecutors said Ahliyah was taken from an apartment on March 13, 2012, and raped and killed before her body was found hours later in a blood-stained basement of a nearby apartment.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1AiDFy7 ) that the girl's aunt said her family was content that Davis would spend the rest of his life in prison rather than be executed.
"That's our justice," said Sherry Mason. "I'm OK with that."
District Attorney Chad Taylor said he was "a little bit disappointed" with the jury's decision.
"What's important is the bravery exhibited by Ahliyah Irvin's family," Taylor said. They will have, "to some degree, closure."
Kim Shannon, Davis' mother, and defense attorney Mark Manna declined to comment, the Capital-Journal reported.
Davis' attorney argued Monday during closing arguments that Davis had mental health issues and was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he kidnapped the girl and, therefore, could not have formed the intent to kill her.
Prosecutors responded that the child's death was vicious. They showed jurors 30 photographs of her battered body and blood throughout the crime scene.
"Look at that, and you'll know what to do," chief deputy district attorney Jacqie Spradling said.
Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com