PERRY -- A Warner Robins father accused of the starvation death of his 2-year-old son testified Wednesday that the last time he saw his son was about a month before his death.
Twenty-seven-year-old William Thomas Davis III is on trial in Houston County Superior Court on charges of malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children and aggravated battery in the Sept. 11, 2010, death of his son, DShawn Davis.
Sade Shamon King, 24, the boys mother, was sentenced to life in prison May 3 with the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to felony murder and cruelty to children. The other charges against her were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
The prosecution contends the parents left the boy alone in a crib in a dark room to rot and starve to death. Medical experts for the prosecution testified Tuesday that the child likely starved over a long period of time, while the defense contends the time frame was actually much shorter.
Davis told Judge Katherine K. Lumsden, who is hearing the case, that he was so exhausted from working at a paint and body shop in Warner Robins and buying, repairing and selling cars on the side that he never saw DShawn for weeks before his death.
Davis testified he left early in the morning and returned late at night, or in the early morning hours of the next day, only to get back up and do it again. He said he never looked inside his sons room during that time period to check on him.
I was real tired from working back-to-back so many days like that, Davis said.
Davis testified hed come in and take a shower and then lay down. He said he was working seven days a week in the weeks before his sons death. He also bought the familys groceries at Wal-Mart between working.
Davis said DShawn was walking and wearing clothes -- as opposed to a diaper only -- when he last saw him. He said the boy sometimes was fed by King in a high chair at the kitchen table, or she would take food to him in his crib. He did not think the latter was odd.
Davis also testified he saw the boys older sister, who was 5 at the time, occasionally during the four weeks before his sons death because she would be up to catch the school bus or at the breakfast table with King.
He said he did not have any reason to think King was not feeding or diapering DShawn.
He testified that his responsibility as a father was spending time and providing everything they needed.
The fact that DShawn did not go to the doctor after August 2009 did not raise any red flags, Davis testified. He said King usually took care of that and told him when they needed to go.
On the day DShawn died, Davis said King called him at work. He said she told him DShawn was not breathing.
He said he arrived to see the ambulance and the cops.
They had my son on a stretcher, Davis said.
He said he figured that it was already too late, and he did not look at the body.
I couldnt look at him like that, Davis testified. I fell down and started crying.
Until he was shown the autopsy photos by sheriffs investigators, Davis said hed never seen his son looking like that.
Davis testified an officer helped him up and sat him on a chair on the porch. Davis wiped away tears as he talked and was handed a tissue by the court bailiff.
When Davis was shown the autopsy photos while on the witness stand, he covered his face with his hands.
I would have took him to the hospital, Davis told the judge.
He was asked if he was worried about the Division of Family and Children Services intervening if he took DShawn to the hospital.
Id rather have DFCS to take him rather than not see him no more -- for him to pass, Davis said.
He testified that he and King did not talk about the death in the immediate days afterward.
I wondered what went wrong, Davis said. I didnt really talk to her. I was upset.
He said he was angry.
I wondered in my mind how she could go through without feeding him, Davis testified.
He said he decided, I didnt see myself being with her no more ... because of what happened.
While Davis acknowledged both parents were responsible for the boys well-being and care, he testified that King assumed many tasks associated with that because he was working so much.
She was at home most of all that time, and I was at work, Davis said.
He also testified, I thought everything was all right, and, It was in my mind that he was being fed.
Employers testify to long days
During earlier testimony Wednesday, Felix Scott, owner of Revive Paint & Body in Warner Robins, testified that the long hours he and Davis were working in the four weeks leading up to the boys death sometimes extended from 13- to 20-hour days. The men worked until the job was done and divided up the earnings.
Although Scott owned the business, he said he considered Davis a partner during the year the two worked together.
He was a hard worker, Scott told the court. He would sacrifice his time to get certain jobs.
Scott also testified that Davis worked other jobs, such as cutting grass, to make ends meet. Davis started working for him after he was laid off from his construction job.
Kathy Neal, who owns two car lots and manages a construction firm, said that Davis previously worked long hours for her doing construction. The hours could be as much as 45 to 60 hours a week at the construction job alone, she said.
Former landlords also testified Davis regularly paid his rent.
Deanna Webb, who rented the Tiffany Place home to Davis and King, testified she saw the boy a couple of times for a few minutes and held him once or twice sometime in early to mid-2010.
He was healthy, Webb said. He was a normal little kid.
Jennifer Brown, a Houston Healthcare emergency medical technician who responded to the 911 call, told the court, Its the worst call Ive ever had.
On an audiotape of a conversation with a sheriffs investigator, Brown said she saw Davis drop to his knees beside the stretcher upon arriving at the home. She said he remained on the porch in a chair with his head in his arms.
Brown also described on the audiotape seeing the body of the boy.
She said his flesh was like raw meat from his buttocks up to his lower back. She said the mother said the boy had diarrhea for two days, which she didnt believe.
You could see every bone in his body, Brown said on the audiotape.
A medical expert is expect to testify for the defense Thursday morning.