McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Police/Courts

June 10, 2013

Board recommends clemency for death row inmate

McALESTER — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended granting clemency to a death row inmate who is set to be executed this month.

Brian Darrell Davis, 38, is set to be executed by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary on June 25 at 6 p.m.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to grant clemency to Davis. “The board voted Thursday to recommend that the death sentence of 39-year-old Brian Darrell Davis be commuted to life in prison without parole,” said OSP Warden’s Assistant Terry Crenshaw. “The recommendation now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin for approval or rejection.”

Of the last 11 death row inmates set for execution in Oklahoma, the board voted to recommend clemency only once, for Garry Thomas Allen. However, in that case, Fallin did not approve the board’s recommendation and Allen was executed Nov. 6, 2012.

Davis is one of two death row inmates set to be executed this month. James Lewis DeRosa, 36, is scheduled to be put to death via lethal injection on June 18. Both DeRosa and Davis opted to make no last meal requests.

In fact, both offenders have made no requests at all, Crenshaw said. This includes last meal requests as well as requests for visitors on execution day. Crenshaw said the fact that the two inmates have chosen to make no last meal requests is quite out of the ordinary.

On April 15, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Davis’s final appeal and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt requested an execution date be set.

Davis was convicted of the Nov. 4, 2001, rape and murder of 52-year-old Josephine “Jody” Sanford.

“In January 2003, Davis was found guilty by a jury for the November 2001 first-degree murder and rape of his girlfriend’s mother, Jody Sanford, 52, of Ponca City,” Pruitt said in a press release. “He was sentenced to death for the murder and 100 years for rape.”

According to court records, Davis returned home in the early morning hours of Nov. 4, 2001, after socializing with friends at a local club. When he arrived home, he found that his girlfriend, Stacey Sanford, and their 3-year-old daughter were missing.

Davis called Jody Sanford, Stacey Sanford’s mother, to ask if she knew were his girlfriend and daughter were, court records state. “When Jody could not locate her daughter and granddaughter, she went to Stacey’s and Davis’s apartment.”

Davis made several conflicting statements regarding what happened while Jody Sanford was in his home. According to court records, he changed his story multiple times and told different stories to his girlfriend, to police and to the jury at his trial. Court records indicate that Davis did admit to having sex with and stabbing Jody Sanford.

When Stacey Sanford arrived home shortly after 9 a.m., she found her mother’s body. “Stacey (Sanford) immediately called 911 and local police arrived to investigate,” court records state. “Meanwhile, Davis had been involved in a single-car accident while driving Jody’s van near the Salt Fork River Bridge. Davis was seriously injured after he was ejected from the van through the front windshield. Davis was transported to a local hospital for treatment.”

Because Davis had a blood alcohol level of .09 percent, he was placed under arrest for driving under the influence and was later transferred to a regional hospital in Wichita, Kan., for treatment for injuries he sustained in the car accident.

According to Pruitt, Jody Sanford had been beaten and stabbed six times and DNA evidence showed Davis had raped her.

Davis has been in custody with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections since March 17, 2003.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smart phone.

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