OKEECHOBEE — A 65-year-old man convicted several years ago of attempted second-degree murder, received a new trial this week and was found guilty of the lesser crime.
Glen Wilson Davis was first arrested in December of 2011 after he shot another man in the back of the head with a .32 caliber handgun from a distance of 5 to 6 inches. Arrest reports indicated Davis told the man to leave his home. But when the victim refused, Davis got a gun and shot the unwanted visitor.
The victim was not killed.
At his new trial this week the jury on Wednesday, March 23, found Davis guilty of the lesser charge of aggravated assault by discharging a firearm.
However, explained assistant state attorney Don Richardson, the sentence will remain the same.
“Although the verdict returned is different than the last verdict, the sentence will stay the same because of the 10/20/Life Law,” said Mr. Richardson.
“Even though he was convicted on a lesser charge, I expect the sentence to stay the same because he discharged a firearm.”
The reason Davis received a new trial was two-fold, said Mr. Richardson.
First, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the jury instructions they authored were unconstitutional and because those instructions were read at Davis’ first trial in 2012, he was granted a new trial.
“Basically, the law changed after he was convicted and he got the benefit of the law,” said Mr. Richardson.
The second reason for the new trial was the man’s appellate counsel apparently failed to notify the court that the law had changed. So, the 4th District Court of Appeals declared that attorney as ineffective so Davis was again granted a new trial.
“Because a new appeal would be redundant, we vacate the attempted second-degree murder conviction and remand for a new trial,” penned the 4th DCA justices.
Although the jury found Davis guilty of the lesser crime, Circuit Court Judge Dan Vaughn will not be able to go under a prescribed sentence of 20 years.
“If you use a gun during the commission of a crime, certain minimum/mandatory sentences apply and the judge can’t go under that,” Mr. Richardson offered. “The jury found he possessed and discharged a firearm during the commission of an offense, so the minimum the judge can give him is 20 years.”
Sentencing for Davis will be held next month.
Although Davis will not be eligible for gain time on his new conviction, he will receive credit for the time he has already served in both the Okeechobee County Jail and in state prison.
Mr. Richardson was the prosecutor on both of Davis’ trials.
Davis was represented in his most recent trial by Stanley Glenn from the public defender’s office.
Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News