Teen murder suspect: 'I didn't plan on hurting her'

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by DAVID SCHECHTER and MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 12:11 AM

CARROLLTON – An arrest affidavit reveals that Franklin Davis,  the Irving man who confessed to killing a 16-year-old student along the banks of the Trinity River, used a fake Facebook profile to lure her into a fatal encounter on Thursday.

Shania Gray was last seen leaving Hebron High School on Thursday afternoon. A biker found her body in the Trinity River near Irving on Saturday. Investigators believe Shania was shot dead at the Campion Trail Park and dumped in the river after.

She’d been chatting on Facebook with a person she believed to be a young man who shared mutual friends with her and had a crush on her.

In reality, the person behind the account was Davis, 30, who is accused of sexually assaulting Shania in March of 2010. That trial was set to begin in October and Shania was expected to testify.

She babysat Davis' then-six-year-old daughter from a prior relationship until quitting amid the sexual assault accusations. Shania's family reported the assault to police, and Davis was arrested on four counts of sexual assault of a child in July 2011. 

"That's our belief; that's the only thing we have that ties them together, is the fact that there are pending charges or a pending trial in which she's a victim and he's been arrested for a suspect," said Carrollton Police Department spokesman Jon Stovall on Saturday. 

According to an arrest affidavit, Davis told investigators he used the sham profile to get information from Shania about what she planned to say in court. 

In a jailhouse interview with News 8's David Schechter, Davis said he was conducting his own investigation to prove his innocence –– including impersonating someone else on Facebook and on the phone. He said he began doing this about a week-and-a-half before Shania was killed.

"I needed to do some kind of footwork myself. I needed to get some kind of evidence, some kind of proof myself to show I did not have sex with her and that she's lying," Davis said. 

He told investigators that he used a pre-paid cell phone to arrange a meeting with Shania on Thursday after school. But when the teen climbed into the vehicle, she was surprised to find Davis behind the wheel. 

"But I told her I wasn't going to hurt her, because I didn't plan on hurting her," Davis said from jail. "Those weren't my intentions."

As he drove toward Campion Trail at Valley View Lane and LBJ Freeway, Shania noticed a .38-caliber pistol in the car. She asked him if he was going to hurt her –– no, he replied, he just wanted to discuss the case with her. 

Davis told police he parked the car at the park and had Shania get out. The two walked onto the trail and down toward the Trinity River. 

When they reached the banks, Davis used that pistol to shoot Shania twice. She collapsed and fell partially into the river.

“Why, Wish?” the teenager asked, using a nickname for Davis. 

Davis then pulled the teen up onto the riverbank and told police he stepped on her neck until she stopped breathing, the affidavit said. Davis told News 8 he was never planning to harm her, and that he became a monster in an instant. 

"I was fighting demons," Davis said from jail. "It was like a different person was in me. It wasn't me." 

Shania Gray was a well-liked track and basketball player at Hebron High School. On Sunday, her father proudly showed off her daughter's sports medals at their home. 

"He took away a precious young girl... and I hope he has to pay all this time for what he has done," said family friend Sherry Ramsey.

Davis was arrested Friday on unrelated traffic warrants. When Shania was reported missing, police launched their investigation. After her body was found on Saturday afternoon, Davis was their sole suspect. 

The female body found by the cyclist had on the same clothes Shania was wearing on Thursday. Police also found her backpack nearby. Phone records showed that Davis' and Shania's cell phones were in the same areas at the same times –– including Hebron High School at 4 p.m., where Davis allegedly picked the teen up. 

Davis quickly confessed, leading detectives to several locations to help them find evidence. He took them to the spot where he killed her, the affidavit says, and then to a pond where he got rid of the murder weapon. 

He is charged with capital murder and jailed on $2 million bond.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com and  mgoodman@wfaa.com

Dallas County Franklin Davis Arrest Warrant

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