On Thursday, June 30, after several hours of deliberation, a Greene County jury convicted Patrick Davis of felony murder in the death of Otis Pham.
According to state law, anyone convicted of felony murder, a Class A felony, can be sentenced to prison for 10 years to life or 99 years. If a gun or deadly weapon is involved, the minimum sentence jumps to 20 years.
With a life sentence, a person serving time for a felony murder committed after 2001 is eligible for parole after 85 percent of the sentence is served or 15 years, whichever is less, according to Cynthia Dillard, executive director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. With the minimum sentence of 20 years or up to 99 years, a convict can be initially considered for parole in 15 years.
Sentencing for Davis will be held in July.
On Thursday afternoon, after hearing testimony from numerous people including Keith Thomas, the man who accompanied Patrick Davis on his trip to the home of Otis Pham, District Attorney Greg Griggers began his closing arguments.
According to state law, in a criminal trial the prosecution speaks first in closing arguments. The defense next attempts to negate what the prosecution has said.
Since the burden of proof lies on the prosecution, the District Attorney then addresses the jury one more time.
Griggers talked about the ugliness of the crime and how the defense said that there was no evidence.
“We know that Otis Pham is dead as a result of a gun shot wound that injured his lung, liver and heart. We know that he had $88 in his pocket and a .38 revolver.
He also referred to the defendant, Patrick Davis, hooking up with his buddies, going to Sipsey Grocery, and eventually pulling off the road a short distance from the home of Mr. Pham. He said Davis and Keith Thomas walked to Pham’s house, whom Davis knew because he was a relative of Phams.
Arrington, for the defense, admitted that Keith Thomas, who had already pled guilty to a lesser offense, admitted that prior to going to Mr. Pham’s house, the he and Davis were drinking and smoking crack cocaine. “Who knows what was in their minds?” he asked.
He argued that Keith Thomas had a lot to gain by testifying that Davis actually pulled the trigger. He argued that Thomas was responsible for Pham’s death, not his client Patrick Davis.
“What’s the difference between the two?” he asked. “Both were charged with capital murder but they let Thomas get by with felony murder. My client is fighting for his life. If convicted he will never get out. Keith Thomas will eventually get out.
“I suggest,” said Arrington, “that manslaughter would be a proper verdict. When you are cracked up, you don’t have control of yourself. Keith Thomas has already stepped down from capital murder. What makes Keith Thomas less guilty? Davis does not deserve to be treated more harshly than Keith Thomas. Fairness is important.”
In his final argument Griggers said told the jury that Otis Pham was the only one who had fought for his life and that they should consider who came up with the plan and did it.
He reminded the jury that Davis was Pham’s great-nephew and that Pham knew him.
“Who do you think could have gotten Pham to open the door?’ he asked the jury.
He reiterated to the jury that Thomas had said when Davis came out of Pham’s house he was holding the money in one hand and the gun in the other.
“Who else would have reason to kill him?” he asked,
Griggers argued that Davis was the only one with a motive to kill Pham since Pham could identify him. “He is the one who had to kill him.. He intended to cause the death of Mr. Pham. The evidence supports a guilty verdict against Patrick Davis for capital murder!”
Following a lengthy charge to the jury from Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway, which included all the lesser and included verdicts they could reach other than capital murder, the jury retired to deliberate the case.
After several hours of deliberation, they came beck with the verdict of felony murder.
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