June 29, 2009 Brian Davis’s decomposing body was found on an old dirt road near the Intracoastal Waterway south of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Calcasieu Parish coroner, Dr. Terry Welk, ruled the manner of death a homicide. Davis suffered from four gunshot wounds, with three in the back, and the final, fatal shot in the head. Investigators immediately grew suspicious after the beginning of the investigation. The victim was found near his Honda Civic which appeared to be jacked up on one side, as if to prepare to change a tire. However, further investigation of the tire lead to the conclusion that the tire, being almost brand new, had no leaks and was not damaged. In addition to the tire not being damaged, the victim had an air compressor in the trunk of his car. The location of the vehicle and the body also was questionable. Friends and family of the victim stated that Davis was particular about where he drove his vehicle, and that he would never drive down an old dirt road to change a tire, in fear of damaging his beloved car. A search of the car showed that Davis’s wallet, lap top, cell phone, GPS, and handgun were missing. However, other valuables were left at the scene, such as a gold watch on Davis’s wrist and his wedding ring on his finger. Investigators ruled out a robbery gone wrong in lieu of this evidence.
Questioning of Brian Davis’s wife, Robyn Davis, made investigators even more leery of the incident. When asked about where she was the time of the murder, Robyn’s story changed several times, and each time her story did not collaborate with her cell phone records. Her cell phone records showed her cell phone “pinging” off of a tower opposite the direction she claimed to have been at 3:50 p.m. the day of her husband’s death, around the approximate time of death. Robyn claimed to be running errands with her best friend Carol Saltzman at the time of the murder, having been with her husband just hours before. Both women’s stories changed multiple times on their whereabouts, who was driving, etc. On December 10, 2009 Robyn Davis and Carol Saltzman were charged by grand jury indictment with the First Degree murder of Brian Davis. On May 3, 2011, the indictment was amended, charging both women with Second Degree murder. In November of 2011, both women plead not guilty and the case was called for trial. The women were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Both defense attorney’s arguments were based on insufficient evidence against their clients. There was no DNA evidence linking these women to the crime, however, due to the decomposition of the body, a DNA profile could not be extracted. LeAnne Suchanek of the Southwest Louisiana Crime lab stated that in order to obtain a known DNA profile, the sample must be extracted directly form a person’s fluid or cellular tissue (findlaw.com,2009). The defendants argued that the evidence against them was circumstantial. Defendant-Davis claimed that she was wrongfully convicted on the count of there was no proof she shot the victim or was present at the murder scene. Both defendants claim that the only evidence the State had against them were the cell phone records indicating they were in an area they claimed not to be around the time of the murder. In addition to the lack of evidence linking the women directly to the scene, the police lost a vital piece of evidence. There was a surveillance tape from Fred’s lounge, a bar near the crime scene. The camera was aimed at the only way in, and the only way out of the crime scene. This video could have shown who was driving the Honda Civic that day, Brian Davis or Carol Saltzman. This likely happened because the investigators did not follow the chain of custody of evidence, and it was misplaced.
Sheriff Tony Mancuso and investigators believe that the two women lured Brian Davis to the secluded spot in the woods. According to Saltzman’s statement, her car has been broken down and Brian and Robyn Davis loan her the Honda Civic occasionally when she needs it. The night before the murder, Saltzman allegedly took Brian Davis’s Honda Civic home because her vehicle would not start. The following day, Sheriff Mancuso believes that Carol Saltzman drove the Honda Civic to the remote location near the Intracoastal Waterway. It is then that he believes she called the couple to come help her with the supposed flat tire, and the women murdered the man and fled the scene. When the Sherriff was asked why Brian Davis’s wife would want him dead, he replied, “money.” Brian Davis was employed at a life insurance company and had over a $600,000 life insurance policy that his wife knew about (CBS news, 2013).
This case has caused tremendous controversy. Many believe the women did not commit the murder, that they were incapable of the malicious act. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to the freedom of both women. There is a 48 hours episode based on this murder. It raised a lot of attention from all around the state. In the episode, it talks about Brian Davis being a womanizer, and liking to have sex outside with his mistress, Fannie Dietz. However, Fannie and her husband both had alibis for the day of the murder, so it allegedly ruled out the “jealous husband.”
Currently, the defense attorneys are making motions to appeal the cases. Both defense attorneys stated that they WILL get these women off. The jury deciding was 11 to 1, but here in Louisiana you only need 10 jurors for a conviction. In my opinion, this case was decided on very little evidence, while the wife may have had the motive, I do not believe she had the means to commit the crime.