Davis receives maximum sentence
Appeal Staff Writer
A Carson City man was sentenced to nine years in prison on Tuesday for accidentally killing his friend with a gunshot to the head.
Donald Lee Davis, 21, showed no emotion as District Judge Bill Maddox pronounced the sentence of 19-48 months for involuntary manslaughter and 24-60 months for being a felon in possession of a firearm, with sentences to be served consecutively.
Davis was charged with the killing of Zackary Warren at a home on Carson River Road on June 15.
Warren’s mother, Karen Ryan, of Dayton, called the loss of her son a “wound that will never heal,” as she addressed Davis from the witness stand.
“You have no right to call yourself Zack’s friend,” Ryan said. “You fled because you were more concerned with yourself than your dying friend.”
While Davis didn’t offer an account of the accident, investigators have said Davis was playing with a .45 caliber handgun when he pointed it at Warren and pulled the trigger. The bullet struck Warren in the forehead and he died at the scene. Davis fled the home and was captured eight hours later in a North Carson Street lumber yard.
“He was my first-born son. I treasure his life as much as my own. You have caused us so much pain,” Ryan said, through tears and labored breaths. “The sentence you receive today is an opportunity to change your life.”
Davis’s defense attorney, Diane Crow, said that Davis didn’t give a written statement because he wanted no sympathy and showed tremendous amounts of remorse for his crime.
“He was willing to take whatever offer the DA made. He didn’t want Mrs. Ryan to have to testify,” Crow said.
Davis turned and spoke directly to Ryan and the crowd of supporters wearing T-shirts with Warren’s picture before he was sentenced.
“I’m sorry for what happened,” Davis said. “What I did was ignorant and stupid. She’s right, if he was my true friend I should have considered that.”
Deputy District Attorney Zach Young argued that the sentences should run consecutively because two misconducts were committed during the same incident.
“First, he disregarded the law after his previous convictions,” Young said. “Second, he disregarded the safety of Zack and everyone else at that house.”
According to court records, in January 2004, Davis pleaded guilty in Carson City District Court to felony possession of a stolen handgun. He was sentenced to 12-40 months in prison, of which he served 17 months before being released in October.
On March 25, deputies arrested Davis on suspicion of domestic battery and battery. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of domestic battery and was sentenced to two days in jail.
In 2003, Davis was found guilty of disturbing the peace. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail in that case.
Crow asked that the judge consider running the sentences concurrently, meaning the maximum sentence would have been five years.
“There are just some mistakes that you have to pay for,” Maddox said.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.