Davis charged with murder; judge orders psychiatric evaluation

Print Print
Saturday, September 24, 2011
— William Davis spoke in a clear, conversational tone Friday throughout his initial court appearance on a murder charge.

Sometimes he spoke during silences in the courtroom conversation.

Other times he interrupted.

"Fly swatter," "raisin" and "pet society" were among the things Davis said.

Rock County Judge James Daley ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine if Davis is competent to stand trial.

Davis, 54, of 31 S. Main St., Apt. C, Janesville, was charged Friday with one count of first-degree intentional homicide. He is accused of stabbing and killing his neighbor Joseph M. Hanson, 40, on July 12 in Hanson's downtown Janesville apartment.

Davis appeared in court by video from Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, where he is in custody on a civil mental health detention.

Daley set a $10,000 cash bond for Davis.

District Attorney David O'Leary and assistant public defender Don Weeden said they want Davis evaluated for competency while he is in Mendota. Weeden said Davis might be dangerous to himself or others if he were released from Mendota and held in the Rock County Jail.

"I have some concerns that if he's released to jail … William would present a danger, although not in terms of violence," Weeden said.

Davis' inability to function socially could be dangerous, Weeden said.

Davis is scheduled to appear in court Monday, Oct. 24. To be competent to stand trial, Davis must be able to understand the nature of the charges against him and be able to contribute to his own defense.

Davis' release date from Mendota has not been set, but it could be as soon as next week, said Linda Scott Hoag, the Chapter 51 court services social worker for the county.

"Chapter 51" is the state's mental health statute. Hoag coordinates court appearances—most often civil cases—for people detained for their own safety or the safety of others.

Davis' neighbor called 911 at 10:23 p.m. July 12 and reported hearing stomping and screaming in upstairs apartments at 31 S. Main St., according to the criminal complaint filed Friday. When police arrived, Davis charged naked from his apartment. Officers shot him with Tasers to stop him, according to the complaint.

He had blood on his wrists, chest, shoulders and face.

After police left with Davis, the neighbor who called police decided to take pictures of the blood on the carpet where Davis was arrested, according to the complaint. He noticed a stench from Hanson's apartment and went inside. He shouted to wake Hanson but got no response.

He found Hanson lying face down on his bed and called police, according to the complaint.

Police observed about 15 stab wounds in Hanson's body. At least four were in Hanson's chest, according to the complaint. They found a bloody knife in a kitchen drawer in Davis' apartment and bloody paper towels in the trash.

Last updated: 6:16 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

Print Print