Gregory Davis


Gregory Davis

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Mutilation - Necrophilia - Sexual fixation on older women
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 1986 - 1987
Date of arrest: April 27, 1987
Date of birth: 1966
Victims profile: Lucy Spillers, 59 / Mary Dewitt, 81 / Bertha Tanner, 83 / Addie Reid, 80
Method of murder: Strangulation / Beating
Location: Georgia/Mississippi, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in Mississippi, 1988

The son of a Baptist minister, born in Jackson, Mississippi, during 1966, Davis had developed a sexual fixation on older women by the time he reached his teens.

His special hangout was the Jackson public library, where he would sit by the hour, staring at women, sometimes reaching through the stacks to fondle unsuspecting victims as they browsed for books. In January 1985, librarians called police on a patron's complaint that Davis was crawling around on the floor, peeking up her skirt and touching her legs. Arrested for disorderly conduct, he was also carrying two stolen credit cards when police checked his pockets for weapons.

The Jackson charges added up to misdemeanor time, but it was still humiliating, and Davis was packed off to Georgia shortly after his arrest, enrolling in the Job Corps program at Albany.

The change of scene made no apparent difference, and Davis was soon up to his old tricks, dropping his pencil in class as an excuse to wriggle under desks and fondle women's legs. On at least one occasion, he reportedly exposed himself in the classroom, and Albany police later accused Job Corps leaders of covering up his escapades, in order to spare themselves embarrassment.

On October 17, 1986, 59-year-old Lucy Spillers was killed in her Albany home, one block from the warehouse occupied by Job Corps trainees. On discovery, Spillers was tied to the foot of her bed with a rope tight around her neck.

She had been sexually mutilated with a butcher knife. By November 1986, Davis was back home in Jackson, and the murders followed him like a brooding shadow. On November 18, 81-year-old Mary Dewitt was sexually assaulted and beaten to death in her home.

Bertha Tanner, 83, met a similar fate on December 11, and 80-year-old Addie Reid joined the list on March 31, 1987. A 74-year-old survivor, attacked on March 25, provided police with a vague description of the suspect, but another month would pass before they ran him down.

On April 17, 1987, Davis got careless with a home burglary, leaving behind evidence that led to his arrest three days later.

By May 1, he was facing three counts of murder and one of assault in his native Jackson, with police from Albany preparing further charges in the Spillers case. Conviction, when it came, would take him off the streets for life.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans


MO: Home invader who preyed on elderly women.

DISPOSITION: Condemned in Miss.

Supreme Court of Mississippi

Gregory DAVIS
STATE of Mississippi

July 26, 1989


Gregory Davis was indicted for the capital murder of Addie Reid by the grand jury of the Circuit Court for the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi. The cause was transferred to Forrest County for trial on a motion for change of venue. After a bifurcated trial Davis was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. From that conviction and sentence he appeals, assigning four errors. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the conviction and sentence.

On March 31, 1987, Gregory Davis, a resident of Jackson, Mississippi, went to Manship Street to visit a friend who lived in an apartment there. Davis arrived at the apartment at around 7:00 p.m., but his friend was not at home.

Davis then walked next door to 901 Manship, the home of Addie Reid, an eighty year old widow who lived alone. Davis checked the doors and windows to see if Mrs. Reid was at home and alone. He then unscrewed the light bulb on the front porch. Davis then went around to the back of the house where, using a small table, he entered the house through the bedroom window, which was unlocked. Once inside Davis took eight or ten dollars from Mrs. Reid's purse and then hid behind the bedroom door as Mrs. Reid entered the room. Once she saw Davis, Mrs. Reid began to scream. Davis struck Mrs. Reid several times in the face, and then put his arm around her neck and dragged her from the bedroom into the dining room. After strangling her Davis covered Mrs. Reid's face with a towel and sexually assaulted her. He then left the house through the front door and walked up Manship Street in a westerly direction past a doctor's office. Davis threw Mrs. Reid's purse, a small flashlight, and a jewelry box he had taken from the Reid house onto the roof of the doctor's office.

Almost a month later, on April 27, 1987, the Jackson Police Department received a call from Bailey Avenue concerning a possible house burglary. Several officers responded to the call, which resulted in the arrest of Gregory Davis and his younger brother, Thomas, in the parking lot of the Jackson Mall. Davis was first taken by Officer Shirley Williams to the Bailey Avenue complainant's home, where a positive identification was made. After the identification Davis was placed under arrest and taken to Precinct Three in the Jackson Mall. Davis was read his Miranda rights, waived them, and was questioned for a brief time about the house burglary. After indicating that he wished to remain silent, the questioning ended. He was then transported downtown to the city jail.

The next day, April 28, 1987, Detective Charles Crisco noticed that Gregory Davis had been arrested for the house burglary on Bailey Avenue. There had been numerous similar incidents in that general area and Crisco thought these incidents might be related to the Reid murder. Along with his partner, Detective Robert Jordan, Crisco took Davis into one of the interrogation rooms on the third floor of the police department and began to question him at about 1:30 p.m. Before the questioning, Davis was once again read his Miranda rights and waived them in writing. After some preliminary questioning concerning the Bailey Avenue incident and other burglaries, Crisco began to question Davis about the Reid murder. After initially denying any involvement, Davis admitted that he had killed Mrs. Reid. The police recorded Davis' statement, had a transcript made of the statement, and also had a policeman take a typed statement. During the interrogation, the officers took Davis over to the doctor's office on Manship Street, where they found the pink purse, the flashlight, and the jewelry box on the roof of the office.

Gregory Davis' trial began on January 13, 1988. Davis did not testify in his behalf, but offered the defense of insanity. Conflicting psychological and psychiatric testimony was presented. When the State attempted to introduce certain photographs into evidence, defense counsel objected, saying that the pictures were gruesome, repetitive, and that prejudice resulting from their introduction would far outweigh any probative value the pictures might have. The trial court allowed some of the pictures in, and excluded others, including certain post-autopsy photographs. The State also introduced Davis' confession into evidence over defense counsel's objection.

After deliberating for thirty-five minutes, the jury found Gregory Davis guilty of capital murder. The jury then proceeded to sentence Davis to death.