Davis, Saltzman attorneys preparing appeals

By By Taylor Prejean / Special to the American Press

Nearly eight months after Robyn Davis and Carol Saltzman were convicted of second-degree murder for the 2009 shooting death

of Davis’ husband, Brian, defense attorneys are preparing their appeals.

Davis and Saltzman were convicted on

May 10 after a nearly three-week trial. The women were charged with

second-degree murder

in December 2009, nearly six months after Brian Davis’

bullet-riddled body was found off Wagon Wheel Road south of Lake Charles

on July 1, 2009.

Prosecutor Rick Bryant argued that

Davis and Saltzman lured Brian Davis to the remote location and shot

him. He said the husband’s

extramarital affairs and Davis’ stake in nearly $645,000 in life

insurance policies could have contributed to the women’s

motive to kill.

Defense attorneys Glen Vamvoras,

counsel for Davis, and Shane Hinch, counsel for Saltzman, said their

appeal would likely

be lodged with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal within the next few

months, pending completion of the voluminous trial transcripts.

Vamvoras and Hinch said they are hopeful the appeal will succeed.

One of the main contentions on appeal

will be that Davis and Saltzman were harmed by the continuance that

Judge David Ritchie

granted in November 2011 when Bryant became ill during jury

selection. The attorneys claim prosecutors tested additional physical

evidence and hired expert witnesses to shore up their case in the

six months between the continuance and the April 2012 trial.

“That first trial has added a whole new dimension to the case,” Vamvoras said. “What happened in that short week raises some

unique issues of law regarding double jeopardy.”

The women’s attorneys will raise

similar issues, but Hinch said the most central argument for Saltzman

will be that the evidence

presented was insufficient to cause a reasonable person to find

her guilty of second-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hinch said the argument is strong for both women, but it is especially strong for Saltzman because little of the circumstantial

evidence points to her. He said that, at most, it showed that Saltzman had been with Davis for part of the day when Brian

Davis disappeared.

Brian Davis’ affairs and his life insurance policies would not have given Saltzman reason to participate in the murder, Hinch

said.

The appellate court could rule in favor of only one of the women, but that’s an unlikely result given the state’s theory that

they acted in tandem, Vamvoras and Hinch said.

While they hope for a reversal of the verdict, Vamvoras and Hinch admit a ruling in their favor would likely call for a new

trial.

Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier said he does not anticipate any changes to the verdict at the appellate level.

He said the evidence showed that Davis

and Saltzman lied about their whereabouts on the day Brain Davis

disappeared. Davis

and Saltzman denied in police interviews that they were near where

the body was found. But the women’s cellphone records and

other evidence presented at trial told a different story, DeRosier

said.

“You start adding up those things and

you start asking yourself, ‘Why would these ladies be lying about that

unless they were

trying to cover something up, and what could that possibly be

other than that they participated in the homicide?’ ” he said.

“I don’t think anybody knows at this point which one pulled the trigger, but the stories they made up all hinge on each other.”