Dothan, AL (WTVY)- There won’t be instant information from the trial of accused killer Kharon Davis that begins Monday. Houston County Circuit Judge Kevin Moulton ordered no electronic devices---cellphones, tablets, and computers--will be allowed in the courtroom. The only exception is court personnel who can use devices for official purposes.
Moulton’s decision is well within his authority and complies with Alabama State law. What it means for reporters is no social media posts can be made from inside the courtroom and they won’t be allowed to use computers and tablets to take notes. Except for emergencies, nobody will be allowed to enter or exit the courtroom during the trial except when recesses are taken.
Davis has awaited trial more than ten years for the murder of Pete Reaves. The case has generated national media attention and criticism from the NAACP that plans a rally Monday.
“We are asking those who believe in the Sixth Amendment and those that believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty to show up in large numbers to show your support for someone who has been denied the right to a speedy trial,” said Alabama NAACP President Bernard Simelton.
Police say Davis, 22 at the time, shot 29-year-old Reaves in Dothan on June 9, 2007. He and two others had allegedly gone there to make a drug deal but ended up robbing and killing Reeves.
Davis, Kevin McCloud and Lorenzo Stacey, were charged with capital murder. Stacey was acquitted in 2009 with his attorneys convincing jurors he was outside the apartment where Reaves was killed at the time of the shooting and insinuating Davis was the one who pulled the trigger.
McCloud, in 2011, pleaded guilty to a lesser murder charge, and received a 99-year prison sentence in a death with prosecutors. He and Stacey may testify against Davis.
The multiple delays in bringing Davis to trial were caused by various reasons. The first judge assigned the case retired, Davis’ first attorney was removed due to what Moulton—who inherited the case---saw as a possible conflict of interest. The attorney’s son, a police officer, had been involved in the investigation.
Davis’ wanted his second attorney off the case and Moulton had little choice but to agree and a third withdrew. Davis is now on his fourth defense attorney.
When Pat Jones replaced veteran prosecutor Doug Valeska as district attorney earlier this year, he removed himself from the case citing a potential conflict of interest. He represented one of the other defendants.
The attorney general’s office is now prosecuting the case and, recently, agreed to take the death penalty off the table as possible punishment. Davis, if convicted, could be sentenced to life in prison.
Moulton has made it clear that there will no more delays and plans to conduct the trial with the minimum disruption.
“No one will be allowed to enter or remain in the courtroom if displaying any type of information related to or pictures of either the alleged victim, Pete Dwayne Reaves, or the defendant, Kharon Torchec Davis, in any form, including, without limitation, articles of clothing, buttons, hand held fans, flyers, or signs, as such display may bias or prejudice the jury either for or against either the State of Alabama or the defendant,” his order states.