Wednesday May 9, 2012
PITTSFIELD -- A Pittsfield man, who had been accused of running two people down with a sport utility vehicle during a June 2010 melee, was found not guilty on Wednesday of attempted murder and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
The jury returned its verdict in less than an hour following Jerry Davis' six-day trial in Berkshire Superior Court.
Davis, 30, walked out of court a free man following his acquittal.
The June 10, 2010, incident left 33-year-old Larry Beamon with life-threatening injuries, including a torn aorta, a lacerated liver and kidney, and a broken spine and ribs.
Davis was also accused of purposely hitting Beamon's mother, Gaylamar Artis, 50.
The fact that the Beamon and Artis were struck by Davis wasn't in question, but rather whether it was his intent to hit them.
"Today's verdict was just," said Davis' attorney, David A. Pixley, following the trial. He said that they had "an attentive jury" and "a great judge that knows the law."
Pixley said Davis and his family were very emotional about the verdict.
On Wednesday, two very different pictures emerged of the June 10, 2010, incident as Pixley and First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello gave their final summations to the jury.
According to Pixley, Davis was leaving the grocery store after purchasing items for a barbecue when he received a call from his good friend Lawrence Taylor, who was at the Wilson Park housing complex.
When he arrived, Davis saw Taylor under attack by several people. Davis dragged his friend to safety and got into a nearby SUV owned by Taylor's girlfriend, said Pixley. Taylor was later hospitalized for his wounds.
Davis attempted to leave the area but was surrounded by between 15 to 20 people, and accidentally hit two people as he backed up.
Beamon then attacked the SUV with a baseball bat, smashing the windshield and sending glass raining down on Davis, the attorney said.
Davis, taking the "path of least resistance," drove forward and accidentally hit Artis and Beamon as he attempted to leave the area. Davis testified that he hadn't seen either person before hitting them.
Caccaviello said Davis chased Beamon into the road, hit him so hard he flew into the air and than ran over him. Davis was angry that Beamon fought with his friend and smashed the SUV's windshield, according to Caccaviello.
Beamon recalled that being hit by the SUV was like "a building being dropped on him" and remembered seeing Davis looking down at him as he was driving over Beamon, Caccaviello told the jury.
Bystanders, said the Caccaviello, corroborated the testimony from Beamon and Artis.
On Wednesday, several other charges were dismissed against Davis.
Ford ordered that a not guilty finding be entered on a single count of attempted murder (for hitting Artis) after the prosecution failed to meet their burden of proof on that charge.
Davis was originally indicted on a third count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, for hitting Beamon's sister, 24-year-old Camelia Artis, but that charge was dropped prior to the trial as were charges that Davis attempted to intimidate two witnesses in January 2011.
On May 1, Taylor pleaded guilty in Superior Court to two counts each of a threat to commit murder and was placed on probation for 90 days and told to stay away from the victims.
Two counts of witness intimidation were dropped by the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.
The investigations into both cases were handled by members of the Pittsfield Police Department.