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Bond granted in King George fatal hit-and-run case

Bond granted in King George fatal hit-and-run case

Only $5 for 5 months

A King George County man accused of striking a pedestrian with his vehicle last year and leaving him to die was granted a $25,000 bond Thursday in King George Circuit Court.

John Cecil Davis, 61, was granted the bond by Judge Herbert Hewitt. Davis is charged with felony murder and felony hit-and-run resulting in death in connection with the Oct. 25 death of county resident Jose Mendez Mendez, whose body was discovered on the westbound shoulder of State Route 206 near Waterfront Lane.

Davis, the former chairman of the King George School Board, was indicted earlier this month by a county grand jury. He was arrested last week and placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Defense attorney Cary Bowen argued Thursday that although there is a legal presumption against bond in Davis’ case, bond was merited. Among other things, Bowen pointed out that Davis has no prior criminal record, has lived in the county for 44 years and has strong ties to the community.

Bowen also said Davis has visited his wife in the Bahamas twice since the incident and has returned each time, even though he knew he was a suspect in the case.

Prosecutor Charlie Clark opposed the bond request, saying Davis showed a “total lack of conscience” in leaving the 44-year-old Mendez to die and later trying to repair his vehicle on his own. He said the evidence will show that Davis was drinking alcohol at the China Garden in Dahlgren prior to the incident and was seen driving erratically as he left. Mendez was struck only three-tenths of a mile from the restaurant.

Clark said Davis went “above and beyond” to conceal evidence of his crime. “The type of selfishness it takes to commit this type of crime … makes him a danger to the public.”

Clark added that now that Davis has experienced jail, it gives him extra incentive to not want to go back.

Hewitt agreed that the crime is “horrible,” but pointed out that Davis is presumed innocent. Among the conditions set by the judge was for Davis to surrender his passport, wear a bracelet that will alert authorities to any alcohol use and to not leave the state.

Court records show investigators were able to use forensic science and evidence recovered at the scene to determine that Mendez was struck by a Ford Expedition made between 2003 and 2006.

Davis owns a 2004 Expedition. A key break in the case came Nov. 15, when someone sent an anonymous letter to the Sheriff’s Office that stated, “Hit and run on Dahlgren Road John Davis.”

Investigators say they later found the Expedition on property Davis owns in Westmoreland County with damage consistent with evidence found at the scene. It was in the process of being repaired, court records state.

Davis is scheduled to be back in court Feb. 27, at which time a trial date could be set.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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