Thinking she was paying a hit man, April Dawn Davis gave an undercover police detective $34 last November as a down payment to have her ex-boyfriend killed.
Judge Arthur B. Vieregg Jr. sentenced Davis, 27, to 25 years for solicitation to commit murder. The judge suspended all but two years and three months of the sentence, and ordered that Davis be kept on probation for 20 years after her release.
“I have thought about this case a lot,” Vieregg said, during the hearing in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Friday, May 12.
As part of her probation, Davis, who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder and borderline personality disorder, will be required to continue mental health treatment.
“The court has sympathy for the troubles of your childhood, troubles described well from a loving grandmother,” Vieregg said. “Your case, Ms. Davis, is especially difficult because I fear what will happen when your grandmother is not here to afford you guidance.”
<b>RUTH ADKINS</b> described her granddaughter’s childhood during Friday’s hearing.
“She has a lot going against her,” said Adkins, whom Davis lived with until her incarceration.
Davis had a poor relationship with her mother, who had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and diabetes, Adkins said. Her mother died in March while Davis was in the Fairfax Adult Detention Center, Adkins said.
“April always tried to get the love of her mother, but she could not get it, so she tried to get the love of men,” she said.
“April is a giver … but they all seem to use her,” she said.
Davis met her ex-boyfriend Joseph D. Wells over the Internet. In May 2005, she bought an American Airlines ticket for him to move from Cleburne, Texas to Fairfax to live with her and her grandmother.
Davis’ grandmother co-signed a $15,000 auto loan so Wells could buy a car. Davis paid his car insurance and for all their activities.
“When he got here, he couldn’t even buy a pack of cigarettes the first three months. After he got what he wanted from April, he moved out,” Adkins said.
Wells began dating another woman shortly after.
<b>“I WANT HIM DEAD</b>, gone,” Davis told Detective L.G. Durden, who taped two conversations he had with Davis last November as he posed as a hit man.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Marc Birnbaum played the tapes during Davis’ trial in March.
Davis told the detective she was tired of being hurt. “I want it done, the sooner the better,” she said, giving the detective details of the Fairfax bowling alley where he worked, and the door he was most likely to exit from after he finished his various shifts.
The detective told her that if Wells walked out with another person, that person was going to be killed, too.
“That’s fine,” Davis said.
The detective warned Davis, “I’m going to have to shoot him.”
“That’s fine,” she said.
He asked if Davis wanted Polaroid photos or a memento of the murder.
“A Polaroid would be fine,” she said.
Police arrested her on Dec. 2, 2005 at Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon on Fairfax Boulevard where she worked.
“I’m such a bad person,” she said, after her arrest.
<b>NO REAL HIT MAN</b> would have continued to talk to April Dawn Davis, said defense attorney T. Scott Brisendine last Friday.
“Some of it is absurd,” he said. “You have on tape, the detective laughing, ‘You want someone killed for $34?’”
But even after her arrest, Davis told the detective she knew her ex-boyfriend would end up dead, Birnbaum said.
“The defendant heard described today is much different from the one we heard on tape,” Birnbaum said. “On tape, this defendant talks about, in no uncertain terms, that she wants an individual dead.”
Although Judge Vieregg told both attorneys he has a difficult time believing the murder would have ever come to fruition, he told Davis she’s been convicted of “a very serious charge.”
“Your crime was committed ostensibly because you were jilted by a boyfriend,” the judge said.
“It is plain this young man is an indecent person, a distasteful and immoral man, but indecency is not the basis for having someone killed.”