WASHINGTON (AP) – The younger brother of NFL players Vernon and Vontae Davis has been charged with murder in the death of a man visiting the nation’s capital from Colorado, and a judge has scheduled a hearing to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.
Michael W. Davis, 19, who has a history of mental health problems, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder while armed in the death of Gary Dederichs of Denver. Dederichs, a 66-year-old retired nurse, had been staying in a private home in the residential northwest Washington neighborhood of Petworth, and he was killed while walking alone in the area.
Davis had previously been charged with assault with intent to kill in two nonfatal attacks in the same neighborhood, and he is a suspect in two additional attacks, all of which occurred between April 24 and April 26. He is believed to have struck people on the head with a hammer or claw-style weapon, choosing his victims at random, according to police. The other four victims survived.
Davis’ public defender, Dana Page, asked Judge Michael Ryan to order a mental health evaluation to determine Davis’ competency. Page wrote in court documents that after meeting with her client, she was “unable to determine if Mr. Davis grasps or has a rational understanding of the pending legal proceedings and the ability to effectively assist in his defense.”
The judge granted Page’s request and ordered a screening by a court-appointed psychiatrist, to be conducted before Friday’s competency hearing. Davis is being held without bond.
Davis is the brother of San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis.
According to court documents, Davis was granted a weeklong emergency hospitalization last year after his mother and a schoolteacher reported that he had outbursts in school and was lying on the bathroom floor at home and talking to himself. He was hallucinating when he came to the emergency room with his mother, and both his mother and the teacher were “afraid of him,” a doctor wrote. He was also refusing to take his medication, the documents show.
The doctor said he should be hospitalized because he was a danger to himself and others. There were no requests to extend his commitment, and Davis was released.
By BEN NUCKOLS, Associated Press
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