Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Richard Allen Davis
He was convicted in 1996 of first degree murder and four special circumstances (robbery, burglary, kidnapping and a lewd act on a child) of 12-year-old Polly Klaas. Klaas was abducted October 1, 1993, from her Petaluma, California home. A San Jose, California Superior Court jury recommended the death sentence for Davis on August 5, 1996. Davis was later erroneously released from a California prison.
To this day, Davis avoids communal exercise yards, where he is a target because his crimes sparked California's "three-strikes, you're out" law for repeat offenders.
- March 6, 1967: At age 12, Davis has his first contact with law enforcement when he was arrested for burglary in Chowchilla, where he lived with his grandmother.
- May 24, 1967: Arrested again for forging a $10 money order. He was briefly in Juvenile Hall before his father moved him and his siblings to La Honda.
- November 16, 1969: The first of several occasions when Davis' father turns Davis and his older brother over to juvenile authorities for ``incorrigibility.
- September 15, 1970: Arrested for participating in a motorcycle theft. A probation officer and judge accept his father's suggestion that he enlist in the Army to avoid being sent to the California Youth Authority.
- July 1971: Entered the Army. His military record reflects several infractions for AWOL, fighting, failure to report, and morphine use.
- August 1972: General discharge from the military.
- February 12, 1973: Arrested in Redwood City for public drunkenness and resisting arrest. Placed on one-year summary probation.
- April 21, 1973: Arrested in Redwood City for being a minor in possession of liquor, burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Charged with trespassing, later dismissed.
- August 13, 1973: Arrested in Redwood City leaning against hedges extremely intoxicated. Released upon sobriety.
- October 24, 1973: Arrested in Redwood City on traffic warrants. Between April and October, he was implicated in more than 20 La Honda burglaries, leading a probation officer to report that residents were so angry at him, he might be in danger if he returned to La Honda. He pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to six months in county jail and placed on three years probation.
- May 13, 1974: Arrested for burglarizing South San Francisco High School. He is sent to the California Medical Facility, Vacaville, for a 90-diagnostic study. A county probation officer recommends prison, but proceedings are suspended when Davis enrolls in a Veterans Administration alcohol treatment program. He quits on the second day.
- September 16, 1974: Sentenced to one year in county jail for the school burglary. He was allowed to leave jail to attend a Native American drug and alcohol treatment program. He failed to return, leaving behind two angry fellow inmates who had given Davis money to buy drugs and bring the contraband back to jail.
- March 2, 1975: After being released, the two inmates tracked Davis down and shot him in the back. He is rearrested on a probation violation for failing to return to jail. Later, he testified against the inmates, earning him the epithet of ``snitch`` from fellow inmates. He was placed in protective custody.
- August 13, 1975: Probation revoked after arrest for San Francisco burglary and grand theft. He was sentenced to a term of from six months to 15 years in prison.
- September 24, 1976: Abducted Frances Mays, a 26-year-old legal secretary, from the South Hayward BART station and attempted to sexually assault her. She escaped, hailed a passing car, in which California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Wentz was riding. Wentz arrested Davis.
- December 8, 1976: Transferred to Napa State Hospital for psychiatric evaluation after he tried to hang himself in a cell at Alameda County Jail. He later admitted he faked the suicide attempt in order to be sent to a state hospital, where he could more easily escape. He was mistakenly admitted as a voluntarily patient rather than a prisoner.
- December 16, 1976: Escaped from Napa State Hospital to went on a four-day crime spree in Napa. He broke into the home of Marjorie Mitchell, a nurse at the state hospital, and beat her on the head with a fire poker while she slept. He broke into a car to kidnap Hazel Frost, a bartender, as she climbed into her Cadillac outside a bar. When she saw he had bindings, she rolled out of the car, grabbed a gun from beneath the seat and fired six shots at the fleeing Davis.
- December 21, 1976: Broke into the home of Josephine Kreiger, a bank employee, in La Honda. He was arrested by a San Mateo County sheriff's deputy hiding in brush behind the home with a shotgun.
- June 1, 1977: Sentenced to a term of one to 25 years in prison for the Mays kidnapping. A sexual assault charged is dropped as part of a plea bargain. He is later sentenced to concurrent terms for the Napa crime spree and the La Honda break-in.
- November 30, 1984: With new girlfriend-accomplice Sue Edwards, he pistol-whipped Selina Varich, a friend of Edwards' sister, in her Redwood City apartment and forced her to withdraw $6,000 from her bank account. Davis and Edwards make a successful escape.
- March 22, 1985: Arrested in Modesto when a police officer noticed a defective taillight. He and Edwards were charged with robbing a Yogurt Cup shop and the Delta National Bank in Modesto. Authorities in Kenniwick, Washington , were unaware for several years that the pair had robbed a bank, a Value Giant store and the Red Steer restaurant during the winter of 1984-85. Davis later confessed to the crimes in an attempt to implicate Edwards, whom he believed to have welched on a promise to help him while he was in prison.
- June 27, 1993: Paroled from the California Men's Colony, San Luis Obispo, after serving half of a 16-year sentence for the Varich kidnapping.
- October 1, 1993: Davis kidnapped Polly Klaas during a slumber party at her Petaluma home and murdered her.
- October 19, 1993: Arrested in Ukiah for drunken driving during the search for Polly. He failed to appear in court.
- November 30, 1993: Arrested for parole violation on the Coyote Valley Indian Reservation north of Ukiah, he is identified as the prime suspect in the kidnapping.
- December 4, 1993: Davis provides investigators with information that leads them to Polly's body off US Highway 101 near Cloverdale.
- December 7, 1993: Charged with the kidnapping/murder of Polly.
Source: Sonoma County district attorney's office, court records, trial testimony.
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