Niagara Gazette

December 6, 2012

Davis jury gets the case

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — The defense in the Matthew "Bones" Davis murder trial says their client didn't do it.

The prosecution says videotape from a battery of surveillance cameras, a long list of phone records and a star witness prove otherwise.

Later today, a Niagara County Court jury of nine men and three women will have the final say.

Davis is on trial on two counts of second-degree murder and single counts of first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary in the slaying of Antoine Bradberry in his Rainbow Bouelvard apartment in August 2011.

In closing arguments Wednesday afternoon, defense attorney Philip Dabney attacked that case against his client, claiming Bradberry didn't die in a homicide and suggesting that the star prosecution witness, Davis' former girlfriend and co-defendant, Teara Fatico, was trying to frame him for the murder because he would not leave his wife while they were together.

Dabney also told the jury Davis' flight from the Falls for eight months, before federal marshals tracked him down in a West Virginia trailer park, was sparked by concern that he was being framed for murder.

"We can't run from what is true," Dabney said. "Yeah, he left. Yes he's found in West Virginia. Yes he is undeniably aware of what confronts him back in Niagara Falls. But he's talking to his wife, his children, his family, trying to figure out what to do."

The defense attorney reminded jurors that an autopsy on Bradberry determined that his cause of death was hypertensive disorder and the manner of death was listed as "undetermined," not homicide.

"It was his time, due to his disease, it was his time," Dabney said. "Based upon his disease it was his time. It was unfortunate and a tragedy, but it was his time."

However, Assistant District Attorney Brian Seaman, in his closing argument, told jurors what brought on what was essentially a heart attack for Bradberry was a violent struggle with Davis.

"But for that prolonged struggle (with Davis), Antoine would not have died that day," Seaman said. "Mr. Dabney says. “It was just his time?' and it just happened to be the day that someone broke down his door, broke his jaw, broke his nose, and engaged in a prolonged struggle. It was just a coincidence that that was (also) his day (to die)."

Dabney told the jury that Davis, who did not take the stand to testify, insists he was not at Bradberry's apartment on the night and early morning of the murder.

"It's my client's position that he was not there," Dabney said. "I submit to you, he was not there."

But Seaman showed the jury videos, taken from surveillance cameras at Bradberry's apartment building, and matched the videos with phone records that showed Davis communicating with Fatico and co-defendant Chasity Wilson at key moments during what investigators described as a "botched robbery."

The video's also showed a male suspect, attempting to conceal his identity, who bore a physical resemblance to Davis. Fatico had testified the man in the video was Davis.

Fatico and Wilson have each pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted first-degree burglary in the case and are each serving a 13-year state prison terms.