Sentence Upheld for Murder in Mississippi

     (CN) – A Mississippi man who killed a technician who came to his house to shut the power off was properly convicted of deliberate-design murder, a state appeals court ruled.
     Keith Allen Davis Sr. failed to pay his electric bill in July 2012, so an employee from East Mississippi Electric Power Association showed up on a Friday to shut off the electricity.
     Davis and his wife managed to get an extension until the following Monday, but family and friends were unable to help them collect the $185 needed to pay the balance.
     Nathan Baker, an employee of the utility, arrived on Monday to collect the money or shut off the power. Davis said he needed the power on for his asthmatic son’s breathing pump.
     When Baker refused to grant another extension, Davis took a gun and shot him to death. Davis moved Baker’s truck down the road a few miles and hid Baker’s body on his grandparents’ former property.
     Police investigated the case, and Davis admitted in three pre-trial statements that he had killed Baker, moved his truck and hid his body.
     Davis told police that he practiced using the gun over the weekend and instructed his family members to stay inside the house no matter what they heard.
     Also, Davis talked about battling with Baker for control of the gun. Davis said he hit Baker with a shovel and Baker begged for his life before the killing.
     Police found Baker’s bite mark on Davis’ arm and dried blood on the shovel.
     Baker was convicted of murder and sent to prison for life.
     On appeal, Davis argued that the state failed to prove that he did not act in reasonable self-defense. He also asserted that the evidence supported a conviction for manslaughter rather than murder.
     However, the Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld the murder conviction. Writing on behalf of her nine colleagues, Judge Virginia C. Carlton stated that Davis acted with deliberate design, not in the heat of passion.
     “In his pretrial statements to police, Davis said he told his wife prior to the murder that he would not allow the EMEPA employee to turn off the power,” Carlton wrote.
     “Furthermore, Davis admitted that he was prepared to do whatever was necessary to keep the power on, including killing the EMEPA employee,” she added.

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