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Suspect in Janesville death undergoing mental evaluation

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July 15, 2011
— A Janesville man suspected of killing his neighbor was transferred Thursday to a mental facility in Madison for evaluation.

William A. Davis, 53, remained at Mendota Mental Health Institute Thursday night. Davis was previously at Mercy Medical and Trauma Center, Janesville, police said.


Davis is being held on an emergency mental commitment. The commitment means police believe he is a threat to himself or the public.


He can be held up to 72 hours on the commitment before seeing a judge, Janesville police Deputy Chief Dan Davis said. The 72-hour period does not include weekends, Davis said, so police have until Monday to get William Davis in court on the civil commitment.


No criminal charges have yet been filed against William Davis in the stabbing death of Joseph Hanson, 40.


Davis said William Davis is a suspect in the homicide, but he declined to say why.


Hanson and William Davis were neighbors in the upstairs apartments at 31 S. Main St., above the Carousel Consignments.


Two officers responded to a call from a downstairs neighbor, Casey Strain, who heard William Davis shouting and banging around in his apartment Tuesday night. When the officers knocked on William Davis’ door, he charged naked at them, according to a Janesville police. The officers used Tasers to subdue him.


The officers did not know at the time that Hanson had been stabbed multiple times in the apartment down the hall.


One of the responding officers reported William Davis had dried “spots of blood” on his upper body and hands, Davis said. Another officer reported William Davis’ hands and forearms had a “significant amount” of blood on them, Davis said.


William Davis was transported to Mercy after the officers subdued him.


After police left, Strain told the Gazette, he went upstairs and found Hanson’s body face down in a bed in Hanson’s apartment.


The officers who first responded and arrested William Davis checked Davis’ apartment, Davis said.


“We cleared his apartment, but found nothing that would have indicated to the officers to check the apartment next door,” Davis said.


Both Hanson and William Davis were enrolled in the Community Support Program of Rock County that helps people with disabilities and mental illness live independently in the community.


William Davis was charged with disorderly conduct in 2007 and was found not competent to stand trial, according to court records. William Davis reportedly told his attorney at the time that he suffered from schizophrenia.



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