Timothy Allen Davis Sr., 47, faces a first-degree murder charge
When Timothy Allen Davis Sr. shot his 22-year-old son in the family's Apopka home last weekend, it was fear for his own safety, his attorney argued, that caused him to pull the trigger.
The elder Davis, 47, was denied bond in his first court appearance Friday, but the hearing provided a preview of a possible legal defense for the former police officer.
Attorney Michael LaFay argued the shooting was a "tragic" act of self defense under the "stand your ground" law, committed by an injured man in fear of his son.
Calling on character witnesses that included Davis' wife and a current Orlando Police Department deputy chief, attorney LaFay argued his client is a man of religion and high character.
It was Timothy Davis Jr., LaFay argued, who first attacked his father. The younger Davis, he said, "followed his injured father down to the garage… to visit a second attack upon him."
That's where police said the shooting occurred about 6:20 p.m. on Oct. 1, in view of the elder man's 9-year-old daughter. The girl told police she watched as her father "just took the gun and shot" her brother.
Among the character witnesses called Friday was Orlando Deputy Chief Charles Robinson, who testified that Davis Sr. had been a good officer and was unlikely to reoffend if released on bail.
The defense also called on Davis' wife, Tarsha Davis, who was asked if her husband has the support of her family, the church and the community. She replied "yes he does" to each.
The elder Davis spoke only once during the hearing, responding "yes" to a procedural question. For much of the rest of the hearing, he held his head in his hands and wiped away tears.
"If this man, in the court's discretion, is not entitled to a bond, no one is," LaFay said. In rendering his decision, Judge Kenneth Barlow acknowledged Davis' career and community status.
"That, however, is not a defense to this particular crime," the judge said. He also denied a furlough from the jail for Davis to see his son's casket, prompting Davis to sob audibly.
Davis Sr. is accused of first-degree murder in the shooting of his son, a former Apopka High School and University of Alabama at Birmingham football player.
Davis Sr., who retired from the Orlando Police Department in 2006, reportedly confessed to the shooting, which followed an argument between the two about the younger Davis' son.
He had been hospitalized with a knee injury after the shooting, and was transferred to the jail Friday morning. He appeared for court in a wheelchair and with a large brace on his leg.
After the hearing, LaFay expressed disappointment that his client wasn't allowed a temporary release from the Orange County Jail to see his son. He said that the elder Davis was "inconsolable."
"He's a man who truly loved his son," LaFay said. "He doesn't deserve any of this."
Source: Orlando Sentinel