Dayton woman’s trial starts in death of man shot on birthday

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 12:57 PM


            Nina Davis, accused of murder.
Nina Davis, accused of murder.

A jury has been selected in the murder trial of Nina M. Davis, a Dayton woman accused of shooting and killing Travis Smith in June 2016. Opening statements were expected to begin at 1:45 p.m.

Davis, 35, was indicted for two counts of murder, two counts of felonious assault and one count of tampering with evidence. Smith was shot once on his 34th birthday with a .45-caliber handgun after an argument, according to prosecutors. Police located the weapon hidden inside a dresser drawer.

RELATED: Nina Davis arraigned on murder charges

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Gregory Singer ruled prosecutors will be able to present evidence that Davis had verbal altercations in which she threatened to kill Smith. Singer also ruled that Davis’ defense attorney can’t present evidence that Smith was a drug dealer.

“(Smith) informed neighbors he was moving out of the home he shared with (Davis) the day before the shooting,” Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Kraig Chadrick wrote in a motion to use so-called bad prior acts. “When interviewed by detectives following the shooting, (Davis) claimed it was an accident.

“It follows that the evidence set forth above goes to show (Davis’) motive for shooting (Smith) as well as a lack of mistake or accident and will be admitted by the State for reason other than (Davis’) character.”

Defense attorney Anthony VanNoy argued against such evidence, saying it would be highly prejudicial to Davis.

“It is impermissible to allow the jury to decide her guilt and sentence, not on the specific facts of the incident she is charged,” VanNoy wrote. “But rather by using unreliable, inaccurate accounts of a prior altercation made by bias neighbors, who grew up with Smith, and may have been taking money from him in exchange for their silence about his drug activities.”

In a written motion, prosecutors also asked Singer to deny information that Smith was involved in drug activity, such as “video surveillance systems, firearms and a safe containing suspected heroin.”

Chadrick wrote that “whether or not the decedent was involved in drug activity is not an essential element of any charge contained in the indictment.”

VanNoy argued Smith’s activities should be fair game.

“Smith’s daily drug activity is relevant because it highlights the lifestyle and toxic environment in which him and Davis had grown accustomed to living,” VanNoy wrote. “Drugs were a constant part of life in the household. Smith frequently carried his gun to protect himself while carrying out his drug activities.”

Chadrick also asked Singer to prevent VanNoy from “commenting on, questioning witnesses, or presenting evidence regarding battered woman syndrome,” which he said is a part of a self-defense claim and not consistent with an accidental shooting defense.

The judge said he would deny VanNoy’s motion unless he could provide evidence that other courts have allowed evidence of battered-women type activity without claiming that defense.

Florida man arrested after bombs, ammo, school maps found in home

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 9:55 PM

Bombs, Ammo, School Maps Found In Florida Home, Man Arrested

A Florida man was arrested after homemade bombs, an AK-47 assault rifle, ammunition and school maps were discovered inside his bedroom. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a news conference Thursday that deputies were set to search the home Randall Drake, 24, of Dunedin, Florida, shared with his parents for a child pornography investigation.

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During a search of Drake’s bedroom on Wednesday, authorities said detectives found explosives and numerous firearms in a locked closet, The Associated Press reported.

The weapons included the following:

  • An AK-47 rifle with a 60-round clip
  • A .308-caliber rifle
  • A .50-caliber pistol
  • A 12-gauge shotgun
  • Numerous other handguns
  • About 15 knives
  • A baseball bat with protruding nails in it 
  • A crossbow
  • Brass knuckles
  • A container of gunpowder
  • More than 2,300 rounds of ammunition
  • Three incendiary devices
  • A homemade silencer
  • Tactical vests

Detectives also said they found a map and aerial images of an elementary and middle school in Tampa, Florida, as well as the Hillsborough County Water Treatment Plant. According to deputies, journals and a handwritten letter that talked about revenge were also discovered.

In this undated photo released by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, a weapons cache is shown in the home of Randall Drake.(Pinellas County Sheriff's Office via AP/AP)

Gualtieri said his office is trying to figure out why Drake had the incendiary devices and what he was going to do with them.

Drake has since posted $20,000 bond. He faces two charges of unlawfully making, possessing or attempting to make a destructive device.

Dayton thief drops T-bone steaks down his shorts

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 4:37 AM

Police are searching for a man who dropped three T-bone steaks down his shorts.

Officers were dispatched at 8:40 p.m. Friday to Groceryland, 1451 Troy St. in Dayton to a report of a theft.

The store manager told police he was walking down the meat aisle when he became suspicious by the behavior of a man talking to another customer. The manager later saw the man run out the front entrance. He ran after him, but lost sight of him after he went behind the store, according to a Dayton police report.

The manager showed police surveillance video footage, which shows the thief grab three T-bone steaks, which each cost between $10 and $20. Then, in a different aisle, the suspect places the steaks down his shorts, the report stated.

No arrests have been made.

Police: Man steals ambulance with medic, patient inside

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 3:10 AM

Jeffrey Lamar Brown
MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL
Jeffrey Lamar Brown(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

A 44-year-old Dayton man is accused of stealing an ambulance with a medic and patient in back.

Within an hour of driving off Friday evening with the Dayton Fire Department life squad, the suspect — identified by police as Jeffrey Lamar Brown — was behind bars.

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The ambulance was taken around 6:30 p.m. after medics responded to a call in the 400 block of Salem Avenue. The keys were in the ignition when the suspect took off, according to a Dayton police report.

Dayton police finally were able to stop the ambulance in the 2100 block of West Riverview Avenue, about a mile and a half from where it was stolen.

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Brown was arrested at 7 p.m. and was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of robbery and two counts of kidnapping, all felonies. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, online jail records show.

Man impersonates officer, tries to get to cash register at Dayton store

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:34 AM

A man wearing a police badge early this morning asked whether United Foods employees had weapons before he tried to get to the cash registers.

A security guard told police around 12:50 a.m. the man entered the grocery store, 2141 N. Main St., and asked to see their liquor license. When the guard told him they don’t sell alcohol, the man asked whether the employees have weapons, according to a Dayton police report.

>>Man steals ambulance with medic, patient in back, police say

The suspect then tried to open the security door that leads behind the cash registers. When the guard asked the man for his identification, he left in a gold Buick Regal, the report stated.

>>Thief drops T-bone steaks down his shorts at Dayton grocery store

Surveillance video shows that the suspect stands 6 feet, 3 inches and weighs about 170 pounds with long black braids in a pony tail and a long black goatee. He was wearing a white long-sleeve button-up shirt with black pants and black shoes. He also was wearing a silver police badge around his neck, according to the report.

The matter remains under investigation.