By MYRA THRIFT, Staff Writer
Fourteen state’s witnesses took the stand and delivered testimony in the murder trial of Clinton Lee Davis Tuesday. They included police officers, EMTs, a GBI photographer, a GBI forensics specialist and one brave little 5-year-old boy who was a victim of the Nov. 7, 2015 shooting rampage that killed his mother, Shanique Shanice Bellamy, 24, and wounded his baby brother.
The lad, Cameron Davis, the biological son of the defendant who was 3 on the night he and his family were shot, walked into the courtroom, sat in the witness chair and lifted his hand to swear to tell the truth. He was asked if he knew the difference in the truth and lying and what happens when someone tells a lie. He answered: “Yes. You get in trouble.”
Assistant District Attorney Michelle McIntyre asked him if he could remember what happened on Nov. 7, 2015. He was not timid in his answer.
“Yes, my daddy shot my mom and my brother and me,” the boy said.
The defense immediately called for a recess and questioned the testimony of such a young witness. Minutes later, with the jury back in the courtroom and the child back on the stand, he was asked if he saw who shot him with his own eyes. He answered yes. He also picked out a photo of the defendant in a photo collage presented to him by Waycross police in 2016, the prosecution noted.
Young Cameron’s testimony came early in another long and laborious day, the second in a row, of testimony, a large portion of which was spent with the prosecution and defense arguing at length the fine points of law that govern what can and cannot be presented to a jury.
Judge Dwayne Gillis declared shortly before 7 p.m. it was time for a supper break and instructed everyone to be back in the courtroom at 7:45 ready to continue, “… possibly until 10 p.m.” But the day’s proceedings ended at around 8:30 p.m.
The jury, witnesses and court officials were instructed to be return at 8 o’clock this morning. The prosecution said Tuesday it would present eight or 10 more witnesses before resting.
The trial could last into the weekend.
Following the child’s testimony, the state brought out a line of emergency responders to the scene of the shooting that claimed the life of Shanique Bellamy at her home at 618 Owens St. just before 2 o’clock on that Saturday morning. Each one told of finding the “obviously pregnant” woman lying in a pool of blood and the two children who had been wounded by gunfire.
Former Waycross Police Officer Michael Strickland testified he was first on the scene and the first thing he heard was babies crying, that he saw the woman on the bed and checked her but found no pulse. A child was on the bed with her with apparent wounds.
Strickland said he attended to the boy who had two gunshots in a leg and one in an arm. This testimony coupled with video prompted tears from the witness and the defendant.
Davis dropped his head and an attorney handed him a handkerchief as the officer’s body camera evidence was played, depicting the chaotic scene at the Owens Street house. The witness, Strickland, wiped his eyes as Cameron was seen on the video crying and writhing in pain from the shooting.
Police Sgt. Caleb Jones took the stand and told of all he saw that night, arriving soon after Strickland did and helping to care for the children until EMTs arrived and took over aid.
Police Lt. Kylie Carter, who was in command at the scene, testified she issued an all points bulletin for Davis after other family members in the house gave her information on him. Carter also ordered a BOLO (be on the lookout) for his silver Cadillac sedan. Her body camera video showed a chaotic scene with people screaming and crying at learning their loved one had died.
Police Detective Missy Thrift said she helped process the scene and catalog items seized and was asked to identify some of them including a child’s white T-shirt covered in what appeared to be blood, a bloody pillow and a bloody comforter and sheet off the bed where Bellamy was shot and killed.
Alexis Brown, who assisted with the autopsy of Bellamy and took photos of her body, identified the photos that were to be presented later in court including a picture of the unborn baby (the court calls it a fetus) that was removed from Bellamy’s body.
The defense argued that photos of Bellamy were “gratuitous nudity, indignant.” Attorney Jerry Word asked if some of the photos could be left out to show a little modesty toward the victim. Assistant DA Charles Watkins. arguing relevance, told the judge that each photo shows a specific gunshot wound and the close-up photos show gunshot powder burns on her skin.
Dr. Edmund R. Donoghue, a forensics specialist with the GBI (with a long list of credentials from Notre Dame, Michigan Medical Center, the U.S. Navy and Mayo Clinic) testified Bellamy had eight gunshot wounds in her body that could have been as few as four bullets (because of entry and exit wounds).
He said Bellamy died from gunshot wounds and that her unborn baby died because she died, after her heart failed to pump blood to provide oxygen for the unborn child.
Waycross Police Detective Larry Hill testified and showed photographs of the crime scene with numerous shell casings on the floor and bullet fragments, some of which went clear through a mattress and box springs and fell onto the floor beneath.
Hill said he released the body to EMTs and that at the local hospital morgue Ware County Coroner Atha Lucas determined she was indeed dead.
After daylight on Nov. 7, 2015, Hill and Detective Teresa Grant drove to the Camden County Sheriff’s Department where Davis was being held after being taken into custody, Hill testified. Police have said Davis fled to his apartment in St. Marys after the shooting. Hill said he tested Davis’s hands for gunshot residue and gathered a DNA sample, along with the clothing and shoes he had been wearing, then obtained a search warrant and searched Davis’s apartment and Cadillac car.
By MYRA THRIFT, Staff Writer