Franklin Davis has been accused of killing 16-year-old Shania Gray. (credit: Dallas County Jail)

Franklin Davis (credit: Dallas County Jail)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The person accused of brutally killing a teenage babysitter was in court Monday morning in Dallas. Franklin Davis has confessed to the crime, but his attorneys will try to prove that he does not deserve the death penalty. The prosecution, however, thinks that they know why the defendant killed 16-year-old Shania Gray.

The victim had accused Davis of rape, and was just one month away from testifying against him in court. Gray was set to say that Davis had sexually assaulted her four times while she was a babysitter at his home. Assistant District Attorney Russell Wilson argued that Davis killed Gray because those accusations had ruined his life.

“You’ll find out that, in the summer of 2012, Franklin Davis was researching how to get away with murder,” prosecutor Russell Wilson stated in court on Monday. “He purchased a throw-away phone. That throw-away phone, the evidence we’ll show you, was the centerpiece — what began unraveling this case with Shania’s ultimate disappearance.”

Shania Ambriehl Gray went missing. The 16-year-old's body was found near the Trinity River in Irving. (credit: Carrollton Police Department)

Shania Gray (credit: Carrollton Police Department)

According to statements that Davis made in jail, the defendant lured Gray away from her school in Carrollton. He then took her to a park in Irving and shot her twice.  In a September 2012 interview, Davis — nicknamed Wish — described what he said happened in the few moments leading up to Gray’s death. “I shot again, and it took for her to say ‘Why, Wish?’ to bring me back to who I was,” Davis said. “It switched back on and, before I realized it, I stepped on her neck. She grabbed my left foot for a couple seconds.”

Gray’s body was found along the banks of the Trinity River.

Davis denies the rape charge. Defense attorney Karo Johnson said that Davis is guilty of the teen’s murder, but not guilty of capital murder. Johnson also said that the prosecution’s motive is incorrect. If Gray was not sexually assaulted, the defense said, then the accusations could not have been the reason that the victim was killed.

A jury began hearing testimony in this case on Monday morning at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas.

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