A Maryland teen this week admitted that he killed his 5-year-old half-sister two years ago in a fit of rage, fatally stabbing the little girl in her bed and fleeing the home. Stephen Jarrod Davis II, 19, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder in the death of young Anayah Jannah Abdul, authorities announced.
According to a press release from the office of Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, Davis is now seeking to prove that he was “not criminally responsible” (or “NCR”) for his actions at the time of the murder — which is essentially Maryland’s version of an insanity plea.
“Stephen Davis has admitted his guilt in the murder of Anayah, and has elected a trial on the issue of his criminal responsibility for his actions,” Leitess said in a statement Thursday. “The NCR trial will take place on April 10, 2023 and the defendant will have the burden of proof in persuading a judge or a jury that at the time of the murder, due to a mental disorder, he lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of the conduct or conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.”
Officers with the Anne Arundel County Police Department on the morning of Oct. 3, 2020 responded to a 911 call at a residence located in the 4100 block of Apple Leaf Court in Pasadena regarding a missing vehicle. The caller told the emergency dispatcher that no one in the family had permission to take the car — a black Dodge Charger — and said that Davis was also missing.
Upon arriving at the scene, the mother told police that at approximately 3 a.m. she got a notification from her doorbell camera showing movement in the front of the house. She said she saw Davis get in the family minivan — which was parked in the driveway and blocking the garage — and move it into the street. A doorbell camera from a neighbor across the street next showed the family’s garage door opening and the black Dodge Charger exit, “quickly speeding away from the family home,” per the release.
The car was owned by the boyfriend of Davis’ mother. The family decided to call police after finding “a concerning note” they believed had been written by Davis. According to a report from CBS News, the note read: “Honestly, I hate y’all so much I wanted to kill you all, but I believe one is enough to cause you enough damage.”
While police were on the scene speaking with the Davis’ mother and her boyfriend, “another child in the house screamed that Davis had killed the little girl,” according to a report from the Capital Gazette.
Anayah was stabbed multiple times and pronounced dead on the scene.
Using data from Davis’ cell phone, investigators tracked the vehicle to a location on Interstate 70 in Ohio later that day. Prosecutors say Ohio State Troopers spotted the vehicle in Springfield, Ohio and attempted a traffic stop, but Davis allegedly led them on a brief chase during which he reached speeds over 130 miles per hour. However, he eventually pulled over and was taken into custody and extradited back to Anne Arundel County to face murder charges.
According to the Capital Gazette, Davis’ mother told investigators that violence was “out of character” for her son, saying that he had “no known mental or physical health problems,” although he “did not talk much.” Both she and her boyfriend also reportedly said that there were no arguments in the house the previous night.
Davis’ father, who lived in Florida, reportedly told police that his son had previously complained to him about a sibling rivalry and feeling “unloved” by his family.
NCR trials in Maryland generally last five days. Davis is being represented in the matter by public defenders Kimberlee Davis Watts, Ellen Goodman Duffy, and Elizabeth Connell, court records show.
The public defender’s office did not immediately respond to a message from Law&Crime.
[image via Anne Arundel County Police Department]
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