Spent more than a few hours this week chasing down some bizarre twists and turns in cases that should be well known to Augusta news consumers, cases involving deaths, rape and more questionable personal behavior by people who should know better than I can shake a stick at.
We begin with the sad and bizarre situation involving Augusta Judicial Circuit Public Defender Alexia Davis and the circus that has erupted over her arrest for failing to promptly turn over to authorities the valuable diamond ring she and a co-worker found in the parking lot of a Columbia County restaurant.
A weekend press conference held on her behalf, heavily populated with minority community leaders and her own legal team, seemed to infer some nefarious intent on behalf of the Columbia County law enforcement team that was responsible for charging her in the case.
What you did not know, and I am now happy to tell you, is that the main reason authorities had little choice but to move forward with the charge of “theft of lost or mislaid property” against Davis.
Her own friend and co-worker, fellow attorney and public defender Katrell Nash, was the individual who provided some of the key information that law enforcement used to build what some are calling a rather substantial case against Davis.
It was Nash who is seen in the infamous security footage, returning to the cashier at the Cracker Barrel, to announce that she and her friend had found the diamond ring. Nash did exactly what she should have done, inquiring if the ring had been reported lost, and then when told it had not been, assuring the cashier that they would turn the ring in to the proper authorities.
And Nash believed Davis was going to do that, because she reportedly said that she would.
Fast forward two weeks to Nash being confronted with her own image on video attached to a crime story connected to the missing piece of jewelry, with the admonition that “if you know who this woman is, please contact local police…”
I am told that to say she was livid would be an overwhelming understatement.
It was the statements of Katrell Nash, along with other vital evidence in the case, that created the foundation on which the allegations were built and the charges were brought.
No one, and I mean no one, took any pleasure or joy in moving this case forward. To say there is a racial motive in prosecuting Davis would be more than a lie, it would be a damn lie, and I am more than happy to say that in the face of anyone who claims otherwise.
Katrell Nash, who is still employed in the public defender’s office, and is still an officer of the court in good standing, just happens to be a black lady.
I have no idea if Davis is guilty or not, but let the courts decide the case, and keep the race card out of the process.
By the time the accused Paine College rapist is tried, there is a pretty good chance that the man charged with the crime isn’t the only person who could be made to pay a steep price.
Jarious Rayshawn Dantzler has been charged with a rape that occurred in a Graham Hall dorm bathroom last Thursday. He has also been charged in a separate incident, a November 2012 attempted rape, that was so described in the Augusta Chronicle’s article on the arrest of the accused:
“Dantzler was (also) charged in the Nov. 18 attempted rape of a 19-year-old in Graham Hall.
“That woman told police she returned to her room after a trip to the bathroom and was lying on her bed when a man with a cloth over his face tried to lie down beside her. The man tried to cover her face and mouth with a blanket and remove his pants. Police said she fought him and yelled for help as he ran away.”
While that sounds like a horrific ordeal that would normally be headline news, it apparently was not. There is no report of that incident in the paper in the days following the attack, nor do any of my TV reporter colleagues recall covering the story on their respective newscasts. It sure did not make my radio show, or the Spirit, or The Jail Report. It is as if the crime had never occurred.
The Sheriff’s Department was called out to investigate and work up the crime scene, which they did. The victim has since left town. She actually left the morning after the attack, and according to sources, has vowed never to return. But it was up to Paine College officials to warn students of a violent sex criminal in their midst, and it appears they did not follow through.
Their lack of concern apparently played a role in Dantzler’s decision to return to the same dorm, and this time succeed in his evil quest. The lackadaisical response to the incident appears to be in direct defiance of The Clery Act.
The Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges to not only keep detailed on-campus crime stats, but to give timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.
An attempted rape in a girl’s dorm room by a masked man qualifies as such a threat. If Paine cannot prove due diligence in reporting the event and warning students, they face fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. Of course, that is nothing compared to the check they may have to write to the young lady who was last week’s victim. What kind of price goes to properly sooth such hideous negligence? You Might Also Like: