A Jackson County judge this afternoon formally sentenced Richard D. Davis to death.
Davis, 44, already understood his fate.
A Jackson County jury in August unanimously ruled that Davis should die for the murder and sexual torture of Marsha Spicer and the kidnapping, rape, torture and assault of Michelle Huff-Ricci.
During today’s hearing, Davis’ defense team asked Circuit Court Judge Marco A. Roldan to forgo the jury’s recommendation and sentence Davis to life in prison without parole. But Davis showed no emotion when Roldan imposed death. Nor did he show emotion as Roldan sentenced him to 22 terms of life in prison for his other convictions involving Spicer and Huff-Ricci.
Technically, the death sentence was tied only to the first-degree murder of Spicer, who was killed in May 2006. But the jury made its recommendation after considering all of the crimes Davis was convicted of and others that he admitted to.
Assistant Jackson County Prosecutor Ted Hunt reminded Roldan of the extensive terror that Davis inflicted on his victims and the fact that he obtained pleasure from it.
“You didn’t hear about all the crimes in his past, but you heard about the most horrendous ones,” Hunt said. “You heard about ones that we didn’t even know about.”
Davis in April and May 2006 recorded videos of himself and girlfriend Dena D. Riley assaulting and torturing Spicer and Huff-Ricci during forced sex. Those recordings ended up being the strongest evidence against him as jurors saw more than an hour of footage, including a portion where authorities say Spicer died. Davis also gave lengthy confessions to police, including assaulting a man who he gave a ride to. After police began questioning Davis and Riley in the death of Spicer, the two fled the area and were caught days later. Davis admitted to police that while on the run, the pair sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl.
Davis is the first person to be sentenced to death in Jackson County since 1999, when Leon Taylor was convicted of killing an Independence gas station clerk and then attempting to kill the victim’s 8-year-old stepdaughter.
Riley also faces capital murder and other charges in Jackson County and is scheduled for trial next spring. Davis and Riley also face the possibility of the death penalty in Clay County where Davis told authorities he killed Huff-Ricci in a wooded area near Missouri 210.