Niagara Gazette

January 28, 2014

Tijuana Davis murder case could see new lawyer and a plea deal

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

LOCKPORT — A North Carolina man, charged in the murder of a Falls woman, may need a new defense lawyer.

And his co-defendant might be in line for a plea deal.

Richard Moore, 50, of Winston-Salem and Cammesoa Marie Williams, 42, also of Winston-Salem, made separate appearances on Monday before Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III. They are both accused of roles in the murder of Tijuana Davis.

Williams has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Moore has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. 

Defense attorney Michael Benedict, a public defender, told Murphy his office may not be able to represent Moore because of a conflict of interest. Benedict said one of the office's attorneys represented a witness in the murder case in an unrelated matter. 

Murphy scheduled another hearing for Moore on Friday.

Later, Williams' defense attorney told Murphy that he and prosecutors have had some discussion of a plea deal in her case.

"We have had a number of conversations to work toward a pre-trial disposition," defense attorney Herbert Greenman said. "But we're not there yet."

First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann said prosecutors will need to consult with Davis's family before moving forward on a plea deal.

"We have not yet talked to them about a plea offer on this case," she said.

Hoffmann and Greenman asked Murphy for "a few weeks" to see if they can make a deal. 

Murphy also tentatively agreed to allow Williams to travel to North Carolina for "not more than five days" to deal with a "family matter." Williams is currently free on $5,000 bail. 

The judge had ordered her, after her release on bail, to stay in Niagara County while her case is pending.

Moore remains jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail.

The couple was arrested in the early morning hours of Sept. 28 after Falls police responded to a call of a shooting in the 1800 block of North Avenue. Officers found Moore and Williams at the shooting scene and then took both into custody without incident.

They also found Davis, 39, suffering from what appeared to be two gunshot wounds. Witnesses said a "stupid argument that just happened and escalated" had led to the shooting.

Moore and Williams were reportedly in the Cataract City for a weekend wedding involving Williams' cousin. Greenman said his client and the victim had been "close friends."

Falls Police detectives said the couple and Davis had returned the victim's apartment, at 1828 North Ave., after the wedding reception and had been "drinking and playing cards" there. Investigators said Williams, Davis and another woman then began to argue and fight.

"(Moore) said he retrieved a gun and fired a warning shot (in an attempt to stop the fight) that went into the wall," Falls Police Detective Lt. Mike Trane said at the time. "But the fight continued and then he ended up shooting (Davis)."

Davis suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach. Detectives said Moore and Williams then fled from the apartment, but returned a short time later as they were arriving on the scene.

Investigators originally said that Williams then shot Davis in the buttocks. However, prosecutors have since said Williams did not shoot the victim. 

Instead, they said it was Williams who put a bullet into Davis' apartment wall.

"(Williams) did not shoot (Davis)," Hoffmann said. "The investigation shows that (Davis) was only shot once. There was one (bullet) entrance wound and one (bullet) exit wound. (Williams) fired the gun into the wall."

Detectives said they were able to speak to Davis before she was taken to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. She was rushed into surgery there, but died several hours later.