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Carol Noland Saltzman. (American Press Archives)

Carol Noland Saltzman. (American Press Archives)

Saltzman, Davis case gets new TV treatment

Last Modified: Monday, March 17, 2014 10:48 AM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Investigation Discovery is again delving into the second-degree murder case of Carol Noland Saltzman and Robyn Little Davis, who were convicted in 2012 of shooting and killing Davis’ husband, Bryan Davis.

The network has already featured the case once, on its show “Southern Fried Homicide.”

Another show on the network, “Deadly Sins,” will show a segment on the murder aired Saturday, March 15.

It will be the third time the murder has been on a national network ­— “48 Hours” first featured the case on Oct. 6, 2012 — and it won’t be the last. OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s network, sent representatives of its show “Snapped” to Lake Charles in recent weeks to interview prosecutors and defense attorneys for an upcoming episode.

Prosecutors used circumstantial evidence to convict Robyn Davis, 51, and Saltzman, 46, in the 2009 killing of Bryan Davis, whose body was found off Wagon Wheel Lane south of Lake Charles. The women are incarcerated in the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel.

Prosecutor Rick Bryant said he first mentioned the murder to “48 Hours” when reporter Erin Moriarty was interviewing him about another murder case. He said he told her it was an interesting case, but both he and defense attorney Shane Hinch, who represented Saltzman, said they are surprised that shows continue to cover the case.

“You would think that once a story has aired by one entertainment or news network, that people would try to find something new or different, but this is the fourth one,” Bryant said.

He pointed out that other area cases have received national attention: Troy Dugar, who was once the youngest person in the United States on death row; Wilbert Rideaux, retried on a murder charge in 2005, more than 40 years after he killed bank clerk Julia Ferguson; and Leslie Dale Martin, the last person from Calcasieu Parish executed.

“I think this is a very boring case; there’s no blood, guts, gore,” said Hinch. “There’s no real evil person, the kind of thing that might capture the imagination of people. You’ve got a woman with life insurance on a husband, and a friend, cellphone towers, inconsistent statements.”

Hinch said, though, that others have theorized to him why the case is intriguing — allegations of illicit sex, money and gambling. According to trial testimony, Bryan Davis had an affair; Robyn Davis was beneficiary of $645,000 in life insurance polices; and despite being fired from her job, she often made withdrawals at video poker businesses.

“That right there is the plot of most mini-series, TV shows and books,” Hinch said. “That’s why I was told, this case, from a layperson’s perspective, is so intriguing.”

Neither Hinch nor fellow defense attorney Glen Vamvoras, who represented Robyn Davis, were interviewed for tonight’s show.

Bryant surmised that two women with no criminal histories committed the crime adds to the interest.

Without a murder weapon, the prosecution used cellphone movement, a timeline, and other factors to place the women at the scene. That there is no smoking gun adds to the fascination, both the prosecution and defense said.

“It sort of has all those elements of intrigue and mystery, and the whodunnit kind of thing,” Bryant said. “I think that’s more interesting when you present something, in a lot of these cases, to the public and the public can make up their mind, whereas in a lot of these cases there aren’t two sides, with five eyewitnesses or a confession.”

“It does leave you wondering, did they do it, whereas if it was something where they caught them with the gun and standing over the body, it might not capture the imagination as much,” Hinch said. “At the end of the day, although you have a guilty verdict, you don’t have any real hard evidence. You’ve got circumstantial evidence only.”

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