Robyn Little Davis. (American Press Archives)
Carol Noland Saltzman. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 08, 2013 2:13 PM
Robyn Little Davis and Carol Saltzman’s attorneys appealed the women’s murder convictions to a higher court Monday.
Davis and Saltzman were convicted in April 2012 in state district court of second-degree murder in the slaying of Davis’ husband, Brian Davis.
His body was found on Wagon Wheel Road in Big Lake. He had been shot four times: once in the chest, twice in the back and once in the head.
In their filings with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, defense attorneys Glen Vamvoras and Shane Hinch list nine errors they believe the lower court committed.
“We truly believe that the trial was so error-plagued and unfair that the court of appeals will address those errors and overturn the conviction or remand it back for a new trial in accordance with fair procedure,” Vamvoras said.
The case was set for trial in November 2011. A jury was selected and testimony from one witness who would not be available during the trial had been recorded, but prosecutor Rick Bryant became ill.
When proceedings resumed in April 2012, the jury was released and a new jury selected.
Vamvoras and Hinch claim that the jury should have been sworn in when it was initially selected on the afternoon of Nov. 10, 2011.
They also say that when the first expert was sworn in on Nov. 9, 2011 — at which time 24 items were entered into evidence — double jeopardy should have commenced.
The law says that in a jury trial, double jeopardy begins when the jury is sworn in, but that in a bench trial, double jeopardy begins when the first witness is sworn in.
“It was done out of order here, and we’re saying because there was an adverse witness called and items entered into evidence, there was double jeopardy,” Vamvoras said.
He said that the months-long delay was prejudiced against Davis and Saltzman because it allowed the prosecution to strengthen its case.
In his appeal, he calls the case “an error-plagued travesty of justice.”
The nine issues Vamvoras and Hinch ask the appeals court to address:
1. Whether the initial jurors should have been immediately sworn in once all were selected.
2. and 3. After the months-long delay, whether the trial court should have found prejudice and quashed or dismissed the charges.
4. Whether the trial court should have granted double jeopardy because a witness had been sworn in.
5. Whether the prosecution should have revealed its theory of how the murder was carried out before closing and rebuttal arguments.
6. Whether the evidence was sufficient to convict Davis and Saltzman of murder. They were convicted on circumstantial evidence, much of which revolved around their cellphone records.
7. Whether the testimony of cellphone expert William Shute should have been allowed. Vamvoras and Hinch said Shute’s method of historical cell site analysis is not scientific.
8. Whether the testimony of crime scene reconstructionist George Schiro should have been allowed. Schiro testified that, in his opinion, Davis was shot all four times by the same gun, probably his own 9 mm handgun, which was never found.
9. Whether the women’s Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendment rights were violated because it was not a unanimous verdict.
Posted By: Juror #... On: 12/6/2013
Title: Another word from the jury
I must question who the real fools are from these comments.
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
? Søren Kierkegaard
If you weren't in the jury room you can not second guess the jurors. When all the evidence was looked at collectively there was only one conclusion that could be drawn. We looked at it with and without the controversial cell phone data and still came to the same conclusion. As for the videos in question they may well have proved the suspects guilty, but they would not have proved them not guilty because there are ways of getting the murder sight without passing the cameras. The only way any of you would truly understand what these jury members went through is for you to serve on a gruesome murder trial jury as we did, but I wish that on no one, not even on those who make insensitive comments like those herein. It was an honor to serve with my fellow jurors, but the images and emotions remain with us all.
Posted By: Vic On: 12/5/2013
WTH?!?!? I cannot believe 11 people could be so stupid. Obviously, this guy was at this secluded place to have a sexual encounter.. And he damn sure would not have taken his wife along. I hope these women are granted a trial with a jury made up of people with an IQ of at least 80. Another thing to consider, possibly the film from surveillance camera was lost because it showed something that went against the prosecutions easy route to end this case? Louisiana is another corrupt state like the one I'm in now.. Georgia. This is just more BS!!! Let these women go!
Posted By: Lisa Liljander On: 12/4/2013
These 2 women are so innocent its ridicous!! Any fool can see that...They deserve a new trial with decent jurors...Im praying for you 2 ladies and hope you are out soon and can sue the pants off some people that caused you this pain and mis justice...Were all pulling for you..hang in there girls!!!
Posted By: It could be you someday - Demand that the prosecution prove their case On: 10/21/2013
Title: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
These women might be guilty. Or not. The great aspect of American jurisprudence is that the prosecution is supposed to PROVE that they did it beyond a reasonable doubt. In legal terms, motive helps explain they WHY of the crime but the motive is not needed to convict. What is missing here is the HOW these two woman committed this crime. The only evidence proffered by the prosecution was the cell phone evidence. Sure, you can infer that the women may have been near the crime scene. But this is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt that one or the other took a gun and shot the victim. Seriously, if the prosecution has a theory of the case, that's fine. But in America, you don't have the luxury to make up a story about what might have happened, you need to prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that it did happen. These ladies should NEVER EVER has spoken to the police without an attorney present. And every person reading this comment take heed: If you get picked up by the police and think that simply being cooperative will keep you from being convicted in a court of law - even if you are innocent; think again. Always ask for a lawyer. If you are guilty, make the state prove it - BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.
Posted By: Juror #... On: 9/4/2013
Title: Jury Perspective
If you didn't serve on this jury you have no right to question the competency of the jurors. We proudly gave three weeks of our lives to the dury for which we were called. I am proud to have served with all of the other jurors. They were some of the finest members of our society. We did not take our duty lightly and we had to make an extremely difficult and very emotional decision that lives with us all to this day. You have no idea of the conversations that took plaace during deliberation. There was not a dry eye in the room when the realization of what was about to happen struck us all. As for the verdict, it was unanimous when we left the jury room. When the jury was openly polled, one jury had a change of heart. But we all did what we were called to do, and made the decision we thought was just.
Posted By: Leslie Leach On: 8/20/2013
Title: HELP WANTED- JURY WITH COMMON SENSE
WOW!! Jury of peers??? I think NOT! Who did they turn down as jurors to find these 11 people?? Atleast one lady had some wisdom...good for you woman..you did not crumble under pressure from your (NON)-Peers in a small closed off room. If Mr. and Mrs. Davis were in financial distress then why was Mr. Davis shopping for a boat? How was he supposed to pay for the boat? He was known for cheating so why could he not have been meeting someone for a sexual tryst and being stuck out in the middle of nowhere be part of the roll play?? He did express his his voyeuristic fantasies about meeting in a secluded but outdoor public place to have sex with his ex-lover by email. You can not rely on cell phone towers as evidence...we know this now. PLEASE, give these inocennt ladies a fair...no dont even waste the money...just give them their liberty...and find who really murdered Mr. Davis.
Posted By: Sally Wright On: 8/20/2013
Title: The only evidence is lacking expertise
The defense should have had an RF engineer testify for them. As a prior RF design engineer that did design in southern states with lots of swampy land and bodies of water, it is completely plausible that a cell phone could ping off a distant tower if there is any swamp or bodies of flat water between the cell phone and the tower. Although there are many valid points for appeal or dismissal of charges, if this were to go back to court, an RF design engineer familiar with that type of geography would be invaluable.
Posted By: Elisha Palmer On: 8/20/2013
Title: nit enough evidence
I happen to be watching this case this morning it's crazy from what I hear motive they say how u goingto put someone in jail for life over cell phone calls n if we didn't hear everything I heardno type of evidence was found so this world coming to a end I would not want to judge someone life
Posted By: Layla On: 6/2/2013
Title: No REAL Evidence!!!
There poor women should be set free!!! The police dept./homicide team did a HORRIBLE & SLOPPY job in investigating this!! Do your job thoroughly and correctly before bringing anything to trial!! SHame on ALL those jurors who voted "guilty" when there was & still isnt any REAL evidence!! INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!!!! I think uneducated idiot jurors dont understand that concept!
Posted By: David Babcock On: 5/17/2013
Title: Grasping at straws
What a waste of time! There is no question these two are guilty as charged and an appeal should be denied! There is so much motive and circumstantial evidence to pin these killers. There was much more info that came out in court transcripts that most of the public didn't see. Those cell phone records are a definite smoking gun. Robyn borrowed $4000 from her mother immediately after he went missing and she told her mother it was for a death investigation. This was before Brian's body was even found! And how about the two of them saying they had been home all afternoon that day yet surveillance cameras found them at different stores that day. How about motive for 'Sissy'? She was at the Davis's home everyday eating their food at dinner and partying with them. She stood plenty to lose. The Davis's finances were about to collapse including foreclosure looming so her free ride was about to come to an end. The motives are obvious: Brian cheating, $650+ insurance policies, Robyn's cash flow from Brian was at the end of the line with all the bills piling up, and a hatred for Brian! That was clear with the zero emotion from Robyn. I think Sissy was the mastermind for this murderous plot to kill Brian. Just watch 48 hrs and their behavior. She does all the talking even for Robyn. He knew his killers. he was shot in the back and those two did it. Lured him back there thinking he was changing a tire and murdered with his own gun. They got rid of some important things. The laptop, cell phone, gps unit. Hard telling what those three things had to offer for information. Those two cold blooded killers are right where they belong!
Posted By: Too Bad On: 5/13/2013
Title: A Waste of Life and Time
This is just a waste of taxpayers money. They are where they belong. Jokes for attorneys....guess they wish they hadn't taken the case "pro-bono" now. Those attorneys will NEVER see a dime from these two....