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Davila faces death penalty

Post by Scott Fontaine on March 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm with 8 Comments »
March 8, 2010 4:29 pm
Spc. Ivette Davila

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier accused of killing two of her comrades, trying to burn their bodies with acid and kidnapping their baby will face the death penalty at her court-martial.

Spc. Ivette Davila of Bakersfield, Calif., faces two specifications of premeditated murder for the March 2, 2008, slayings of Staff Sgt. Timothy Miller and Sgt. Randi Miller in the married couple’s Parkland home.

Davila also faces charges of burglary, kidnapping and obstruction of justice, Lewis-McChord announced Monday. No trial date has been set.

It will be the first capital case at Fort Lewis in recent memory, if ever.

Spc. Jamaal A. Lewis originally faced capital punishment for killing two people outside a Lakewood tavern on Labor Day 2005, but then-post commander Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik changed his mind about potential execution. Lewis was later sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Capital punishment in the military remains rare; the last time a service member was executed was in 1961. Eight service members are on death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

A guilty verdict for the eligible crime must be unanimous, and at least one aggravating factor must exist and outweigh any extenuating circumstances for the death penalty to be imposed. An example of an aggravating factor would be the defendant facing two specifications of the same capital-punishment-eligible crime, a base spokesman said.

If Davila is convicted of premeditated murder but spared the death penalty, she faces a minimum sentence of life in prison.

Brig. Gen. Jeff Mathis, the Lewis-McChord commander while I Corps is deployed to Iraq, made the decision to pursue the death penalty late last week. The base’s public affairs said the general wasn’t available for an interview because he will be called upon to take future action in the case.

Prosecutors say Davila, who served with the I Corps honor guard, started the night of March 1 by meeting friends at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma to create an alibi. She left the casino in a cab hours later, planted a bag containing a pistol at the Millers’ home and met the couple at Club Silverstone in Tacoma.

She returned to Parkland with the Millers in the early morning hours, prosecutors said. Later that morning, she entered their bedroom, shot Randi Miller twice in the head and then beat her to death.

She then went to the shower, where she shot Timothy Miller four times, and then walked closer and shot him twice at point-blank range, prosecutors said.

She then drove to a nearby Lowe’s, purchased the acid and tried to burn both bodies in the shower. Prosecutors said she took the Millers’ daughter, Kassidy, and planned to drop her at an orphanage. But first she brought the child to the barracks, where she told friends she was baby-sitting the child.

A fellow I Corps soldier testified he noticed Davila seemed quiet. When he asked what was wrong, he testified Davila said she “hurt people bad, that she was going to hell, that she was going to jail.”

The soldier, Sgt. Aaron Nelson, said Davila then admitted to shooting two people and taking their baby. He persuaded her to call police, and she was arrested that afternoon.

Pierce County authorities transferred jurisdiction of the case to the military, and Davila has been held at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor since her arrest.

The defense didn’t dispute many of the facts of what happened that night during Davila’s Article 32 hearing in December but called into question her mental capacity. During the hearing, the military equivalent of a grand-jury proceeding, defense lawyers pointed to “junior high”-like behavior, including calling the bedsheets stained with the Millers’ blood “yucky,” peppering letters with childish cartoon-like drawings and zoning out frequently.

And after she was taken into custody, the soldier reported seeing flashes of light, hearing strange voices and believing people were walking on the roof of her cell.

Government attorneys, though, argued Davila was a cold-blooded killer.

“She was an extraordinarily lethal assassin, who coldly, methodically and deliberately executed Staff Sgt. Miller and his wife, Sgt. Miller,” Capt. Grady Leupold said in closing arguments. “They so underestimated her that they never believed that they would end up bullet-ridden and submerged in muriatic acid in their bathtub.”

Defense lawyers also complained during the Article 32 hearing that Davila had been denied the opportunity to travel to Fort Lewis to work on her defense and with various experts assigned to the case.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. And it will savethe tax payer money not haveing to feed and house her for the rest of her life. This is supper dooper good news…………

  2. gumpa_38 says:

    I don’t know what her mental state was at the time, but premeditation seems to rule out an insanity plea. I really don’t know what to say about all of this. She is a pretty lady and it seems she could have everything going for her, except for the fact that she is real messed up in the head. This would be one more reason against women serving in combat if the left wing wanted to use it. Personally I think that anyone that comes back from overseas needs to be evaluated by a professional before being allowed to go home or even serve stateside. We are just asking too much from our soldiers these days. I thought it was bad during Vietnam but today…..

  3. siragwatkins says:

    One of the problems of having a war is that people are taught to kill, and unstable people are given easy access to weapons.

    It appears that this young woman was probably drinking, and has serious mental health issues, for which alcohol is no help.

    Why she was allowed off base with a gun is a question for the military to give some attention–obviously that ball was dropped, as I understand it often is.

    I certainly don’t want her back on the street, but I think the military bears some responsibility for this.

  4. patchespol says:

    I apparently have missed part of this story. What reason did she give for killing these people or taking the child? Who knew about her intentions prior to it happening? Will they be charged as accomplices as they did the family and friends of the parolee that killed the 4 officers in November? Also, to gumpa_38, I don’t agree that this would be one more reason against women serving in combat if the left wing wanted to use it. This happens all the time with men, they serve in the military, they suffer unbelievable horrors, they are sitting on a battlefield, having just blown away the enemy one day and the next, they could be sitting on their front porch back home in the good ol’ USA, sipping coffee and eating Dunkin’ Donuts.. No treatment, no therapy, no intervention. This has been going on since WW1. Our service people have never gotten the help and support that they need to make a transistion. Women are no different in this aspect. They can come home damaged as well, and the first thing you know they’ve killed their spouses, their children, friends, strangers, whoever, because that is what they’ve been trained to do. If for some unknown reasons these killers forsee their victims as “enemies”, they are programed, primed and ready to go. I do agree that our soilders (both men and women) coming back from a tour of duty on the front lines overseas needs to be evaluated by professionals before being allowed to go home. But unless the people demand it, our government will continue to sweep these poor souls under the proverbial carpet and do nothing. I think what this woman did, no matter what the reason, must be punishable in some very significant way, i.e. life in prison without parole, but before they take her life, her mental state as an American solider should be taken into consideration. Thats only my opinion and likes noses, everyone’s got one!

  5. northwestchick says:

    If I remember the entire story correctly , she had “never deployed” to war before… She’s just evil.

  6. Maybe she needs to be assigned to Shutter Island.

  7. neverforget says:

    Are you kidding me? This female joined the color guard so she WOULDN’T deploy, so there is no evaluation needed! And just because you are sent over there, does not mean that you are “programmed to kill”! You people are killing me, if you are seriously going to post something, then maybe you should do a little research before you say something that you know nothing about!
    She deserves death.She murdered two great people, and left a daughter with no parents, before she could even remember and know what great people they were.

  8. Randi was a friend of mine growing up. She was very kind and loveable. I hope they shoot this woman. The way she went about this, planting the gun, getting an alliby, trying to burn the bodies, just shows how screwed up she was. There is no way to do this without being fully aware of what was going on. She had never been deployed so there is no need to evaluate her. I spent many years in the army and know what it is like to be put under that much pressure. Even if deployed there is no excuse for this. I have been to Randis’ grave on a couple occasions here in NH at the veteran cemetary. I am usually there visiting some friends that had full lives. It still hurts me to have to visit someone who was so young.

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