On March 27, 18-year old Kevin Davis from Corpus Christi, TX, beat his 50-year old mother, Kimberly Hill, with a hammer then strangled her with a cord and stabbed her in the head. Apparently that was not enough to end his rage and he followed up his tantrum with sexually violating his mother’s dead corpse. He says that he did this because he had told his mother he wanted her permission to die and that she responded that she couldn’t control what he did even though Davis admits that she was visibly upset.
Among the many horrific things that Davis has said on video to authorities are:
“I’m just a terrible disgusting person”, in response to being questioned why he did it.
“Guess I lost my virginity to a dead corpse.”
“I wouldn’t take back what I did.”
“I don’t have standards. I don’t have morals. A body’s a body – a piece of meat.”
Davis also admitted to police that if given the chance he would probably kill again. In June, when Davis was asked how he plead to first-degree murder, Davis responded not guilty. During Tuesday’s trial, the defense did not call any witnesses, and it took jurors a very short time to disagree in regards to his guilt. He was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
Medical experts who evaluated Davis did not feel there were any mental diagnoses or psychosis. Seriously? So, let’s see, a teenager tells his mother that he wants to die and doesn’t like people – this apparently raises no red flags to any type of mental illness. Then he murders his mother and has sex with her dead corpse, and experts think this is possible without some type of mental problem? Yes, Davis is deplorable, but were his Sixth Amendment rights violated: “… to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense …”?
Regardless of personal feelings toward our judicial system’s mental defense, the fact is that our legal system does recognize, even in the presence of undeniable guilt of a crime, that there is always a level of culpability to said crime, and that those suffering from mental illness are less culpable than others. While my initial reaction toward this crime is that Davis will get his just desserts in prison, I have to ask myself if anyone would really be capable of such acts if they were not suffering a mental disorder.
Perhaps due to the heinousness of this crime, medical experts refused to note that this is not the behavior of a “normal” human being. I’m confused as to why a mental defense was not attempted, or why Davis’ defense attorney did not call any witnesses. Surely, there were others that could attest to behaviors by Davis that would shed light on mental suffering. Of course, it is possible that no one was willing to testify on Davis’ behalf because nobody wanted to see Davis as a victim.
And what really is my point if I too am offended by Davis’ acts? Our legal system cannot pick and choose when to use mental defenses for crimes committed. Per the Texas Health and Safety Code, a mental illness: “substantially impairs a person’s thought, perception of reality, emotional process, or judgment; or grossly impairs behavior as demonstrated by recent disturbed behavior.” If this doesn’t, exactly, describe the behaviors of Kevin Davis, I am not sure what would.
Please do not misunderstand me here. I definitely believe that Davis deserves to be punished for his crime, but he also requires a mental diagnoses and treatment. I do not believe that there were not any witnesses who could have attested to Davis’ abnormal behaviors before this occurrence, nor do I believe that anyone can state that Davis’ crime does not, in and of itself, show evidence of some type of mental illness.
This case seems to be a perfect example of questioning whether someone is simply born evil and capable of evil without having some type of mental illness. I believe anyone is capable of murder simply out of hatred, anger, or intense emotions due to a traumatic incident; however, this crime goes much further than that. To sexually assault your mother’s corpse after murdering her and then making a joke about it (“Guess I lost my virginity to a dead corpse.”) seems to unequivocally suggest the presence of mental illness.
Kevin Davis stated he would murder again if given the chance, so yes, he needs to be locked up. But he also needs mental treatment. I say this for my sake and yours, more so than his, for two reasons. First, psychological evaluation and treatment may help us understand what causes this type of behavior, recognize early symptoms that could save lives, and many other invaluable benefits. Second, under Texas law an individual sentenced to life in prison on a first-degree murder charge is eligible for parole in 35 years. That means Davis could be walking among us again by his early fifties.
If Davis was capable of this type of heinousness at 18, what do you think he will be like in 35 years after being around hardened criminals who will probably rape him daily while quoting his very words, “A body’s a body – a piece of meat”, especially if he receives no treatment for mental illness?
It would serve Davis, and us, much better if he was locked up in a single cell in a psychiatric hospital where he could be treated and observed. He may die there, just as in prison, but in the event that in 35 years he convinces a parole board he has changed, I would much prefer that his mental illness had improved and not become worse by abuse that is certain to occur.
These types of conversations are always difficult and always controversial. Please contribute your ideas and opinions below and join in this discussion.