DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Franklin Davis is one step closer to learning his fate. The man has been convicted of killing a babysitter, and closing arguments wrapped up on Friday morning in the punishment phase of his capital murder trial.
The case is now in the hands of a Dallas jury — the same jury that found him guilty of the crime. They will first select a foreperson, and then begin deliberations.
Davis chose not to take the stand on his own behalf in the punishment phase of the trial. He did speak to the court previously, however, as the jury was trying to determine if he was guilty or innocent. Davis admitted to killing 16-year-old Shania Gray in an Irving park last year. But he denied allegations of sexually assaulting her two years earlier.
The murder took place about a month before Gray was set to be a witness against Davis in his sexual assault case.
Gray’s mother took the stand on Friday morning. “My daughter brutally taken away because of someone who was a coward, having my daughter’s integrity questioned,” said Sherry Gray-Green, “all of this loss is just compounded.”
Prosecutors have argued that, because of his crime, Davis deserves the death penalty. “He is an arrogant child molester with a malicious soul,” said one prosecutor.
But defense attorneys argued that there are mitigating circumstances. He had a poor upbringing in St. Louis. His mother was murdered when he was just 4 years old.
The jury must decide whether or not Davis poses a continuing threat to society, and whether or not there are mitigating circumstances. If they unanimously agree on both counts — that he is a threat and there are no mitigating circumstances — then Davis will receive the death penalty. If they do not reach a unanimous agreement, then Davis will serve the rest of his life in prison.
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