In March 2012, 8-year-old Ahliyah Nachelle Irvin was kidnapped while she slept. Billy Frank Davis Jr., 31, who was both drunk and high on cocaine, raped, beat and strangled her to death before hiding her body in a dryer.
In a Topeka, Kansas, courtroom yesterday afternoon, Davis was convicted of homicide, rape of the child, aggravated kidnapping of the child, burglary, two counts of aggravated burglary, and two misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property.
Sharon Miller, Ahliyah’s grandmother, wrote handwritten note provided to the Topeka Capital-Journal. It read, in part, “justice has been served...even though Ahliyah will never go to the prom or fall in love, or grow up to have a family...We all still miss the loss of our beautiful Ahliyah, her touch, her smile, her loving hugs but we as a family know she is in Heaven smiling down on us and is happy now and looks down on us letting us know everything is going to be OK now.” The note was signed “Grandma Sharon.”
Now jurors must decide whether or not Davis should face the death penalty or life in prison. They must vote unanimously to impose the death penalty.
Davis’ defense attorney Julia Spainhour argued that her client was so incapacitated, he did not have the mental capacity to intend to kill Ahliyah - which may be a mitigating factor during the sentencing process. Spainhour told the jurors that Davis told Topeka police detectives “‘I didn’t intend to kill her; I didn’t intend to hurt her.'”
The judge reminded the jury that “voluntary intoxication” was a valid defense, and Spainhour said it applied to Davis.
Miller’s note added that she felt justice had been done by reaching a guilty verdict. “Justice has been done to the point that this man will never be able to take another baby’s life, be able to traumatize a family of another victim,” she wrote.
“He has had his control during all of this...but now we have the control back.”