Davis arraigned for murdering parents at CMU

March 10, 2018

By Pat Maurer

James Eric Davis Jr., arrested after a 15 hour search in Mt. Pleasant for the murder of his parents in his Central Michigan University dorm room last Friday morning, was arraigned by video Tuesday afternoon by Isabella County Circuit Chief Judge Paul H. Chamberlain.

Davis Jr. was located and arrested just after midnight Saturday morning for the Central Michigan University

CMU student James Eric Davis, Jr. was arraigned Tuesday  on double murder and weapons charges.

CMU student James Eric Davis, Jr. was arraigned Tuesday on double murder and weapons charges.

shooting of his parents James Eric Davis Sr., 48, and Diva Jeenen Davis, 47 in his 4th floor room around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning. The murders happened in one of the Towers Complex residential units.

A tip from a railroad employee who spotted the 19-year-old CMU sophomore just after midnight led police to a road adjacent to the railroad tracks near Bellows, where the man was arrested without incident, CMU Police Chief William Yeagley said in a Saturday morning press conference.

Davis Sr. was a part-time police officer in a suburb of Chicago, the Bellwood Police Department, who had served there since 1999. Diva Davis was a real estate broker, former flight attendant and a breast cancer survivor.

The Chief said the CMU Police had never had a problem with Davis prior to Thursday evening, when officers responded to an incoherent claim he made that “someone was out to get him.” He said officers investigated and interviewed a person Davis Jr. had claimed threatened him but “found no risk.”

Around 1:15 a.m. Friday morning, Yeagley said officers in the building for another complaint saw Davis sitting in the lobby of his residence hall complex. with luggage. The officers and staff questioned him and found he was incoherent. They believed he was under the influence of drugs, which Davis confirmed.

A release from CMU police said, “After a conversation between Davis Jr. his mother and the police, CMUPD

Diva Jeenen Davis

Diva Jeenen Davis

transported him to a local emergency room (MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant) for monitoring and treatment.”

His parents came to the hospital early Friday morning.

In a press conference, CMU Police Chief Yeagley said Davis, Jr. was released from the hospital emergency room Friday morning and went with his parents back to his CMU dorm room where they were packing belongings up in preparation to leave for spring break. No information was available to why the teen shot his parents.

“Police investigation determined through review of surveillance and witness interviews that Davis Jr., left the residence hall, went to the family vehicle and returned — using his CMU ID — to the residence hall with a handgun,” according to the website.

James Eric Davis, Sr.

James Eric Davis, Sr.

That gun, which was his father’s service revolver, was identified as the murder weapon and found in the room later by police.

Davis, Jr. fled the scene on foot and was seen running north along the railroad tracks on the west side of campus.
The murders took place as thousands of CMU students and staff were preparing to leave the campus for spring break. It prompted a campus lockdown and “shelter in place” order for CMU police while a more than 15-hour multi-agency manhunt was ongoing for Davis Jr. who had fled north along the railroad after the murders.

Mt. Pleasant schools were also put on lockdown as well as City buildings.

Surrounding area schools, including Farwell, Clare, Harrison, Coleman and Shepherd were also notified and were on an outside threat mode. Friday afternoon Clare dismissed school early and cancelled bussing, asking parents to pick up their students. No one was allowed to walk home.

The incident prompted Harrison Superintendent Rick Foote’s Facebook post that beginning March 5th all of the district’s building would be locked from 8 a.m. until students are released from school. The elementary schools had already been locked, but the secondary buildings were added because of the Mt. Pleasant safety threat.

Friday afternoon, CMU Police Lt. Larry Kraus reported that more than 100 law enforcement personnel from area agencies were searching for the suspect north of the campus.

The search for Davis Jr. continued throughout the day and evening with State Police, Tribal Police, the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, swat teams, a helicopter, K-9 units and agencies surrounding Mt. Pleasant, including personnel from the Clare County Sheriff’s Department and Clare City Police, assisted in the search.
When he was arrested, Davis was taken to McLaren Hospital for exposure and was

During his arraignment, Davis was still hospitalized for exposure he suffered during the search and was arraigned from McLaren Hospital by video. He was charged with one count of murder for each of his parents and with one count of felony firearms Isabella County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Kowalczyk.

Court appointed attorney Joshua Blanchard represented Davis, although he told Judge Chamberlain he did not want a court appointed attorney. Judge Chamberlain decided to keep Blanchard as Davis’s attorney until a motion is filed by Davis saying he wants to proceed without council.

Kowalczyk asked for a bond of $3 million without surety because he said he believed Davis was a flight risk.

Blanchard argued that setting a $3 million bond without surety was the same as denying bond.

Chamberlain set a bond of $500,000 for each murder and $125,000 for the weapons charge for a total $1.25 million cash or surety.

Tuesday Information from the CMU website said Davis “remains in the hospital in police custody. No further court dates have been set at this time.”

“The Central Michigan University Police Department’s investigation continues. Regarding today’s arraignment of James Eric Davis, Jr., we are glad the case is moving forward. This is one step in our healing process,” said Sherry Knight, associate vice president for University Communications.

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