Robyn Little Davis. (American Press)
Carol Noland Saltzman. (American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 01, 2013 8:49 PM
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.”
Posted By: Janice Thomas On: 6/8/2013
I am appalled that these women were found guilty - they had no evidence what-so-ever. I pray that God talks to whomever is left to make the right decision for these women. Somewhere out there, the person that did kill Brian Davis is running around free and no one is even looking for him or her. This case just breaks my heart!