NWGA Scanner | March 12th, 2022

Calhoun woman admits to 42 charges of child abuse, given 400-year sentence

Calhoun Woman admits to 42 charges of child abuse, receives 400-year sentence District Attorney Shannon Wallace announces that, on February 24, 2022, Gordon County Superior Court Judge D. Scott Smith sentenced Stephanie Danielle Davis, 37, to 200 years to serve in prison, followed by 200 years of probation. Ms. Davis and her co-defendant, Christopher Matthew Davis, 43, both of Calhoun, were arrested and indicted in 2020 for abusing Ms. Davis’ nine children. Ms. Davis entered a guilty plea on November 22, 2021 to 42 charges and was sentenced on February 24, 2022. Mr. Davis was found guilty in December 2021 of 47 charges, then sentenced in January 2022 to two consecutive life terms plus 841 years in confinement.The case first became known to law enforcement on February 6, 2020 when a teenage boy escaped from his home and told the Calhoun Police Department that his stepfather slapped and punched him, hit him with a stick, strangled him, burned him with hot oil, locked him in a closet, and beat him with a belt and a wooden cane. The child had visible injuries all over his head and body, in addition to a broken eardrum. The injuries were in varying stages of healing.Later that day, the Calhoun Police Department executed a search warrant of the home and arrested Mr. Davis. Police officers noted that the children (ages 3-17) lacked adequate clothing, beds, blankets, and pillows. While searching the home, officers found a stick and belt used for beating the children. The only heated rooms were the master bedroom and a closet used to store exotic snakes and other reptiles. During the investigation that followed, law enforcement determined that abuse also included limiting food and water intake, restricting the use of the bathroom, forcing the children to eat spoiled food, and locking them upstairs when their parents were away. In addition, the children were locked in an unheated closet with no bathroom, strangled until they passed out, forced to sit on a fire ant pile, and burned with items such as sparklers and hot oil. After determining that Ms. Davis had also participated in the abuse of the children, law enforcement arrested her on February 13, 2020. At the time of the arrests, the children were homeschooled. Previously, they had attended Gordon County Schools, where counselors reported suspected abuse in 2019 to the Division of Family & Children Services (DFACS). One child was absent 62 days in a single school year. In May 2019, Ms. Davis withdrew the children. Once the children were no longer attending school, the violence escalated.“The abuse these nine children suffered at the hands of Mr. and Mrs. Davis was horrendous,” said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Katie Gropper, who prosecuted the case for the State. “While Stephanie Davis initially painted herself as a helpless victim, the evidence demonstrated her extensive involvement. She not only held the children down while they were beaten and burned by her husband Christopher Davis, but also crafted cover stories for the children to tell their teachers and DFCS if they were ever asked about their injuries. Her efforts to influence and manipulate the children to recant their allegations continued even after her arrest.” During Ms. Davis’ sentencing hearing, two children provided victim impact statements. They testified that the physical wounds and suffering they experienced were painful, but the betrayal of their own mother left deeper wounds that will take much longer to heal. “While the physical and emotional suffering inflicted by their own mother is something that still weighs heavy on these children, they are steadfast in their commitment to heal, move forward, and build a better life. Today, the children are in stable and loving foster homes and have demonstrated incredible resilience,” said Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace. “These children are now able to live freely, without fear, and to rise above this trauma.” The case was investigated by Det. Seth Densmore of the Calhoun Police Department, and prosecuted by Deputy Chief ADA Katie Gropper and ADA Rachel Hines of the Special Victims Unit, Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office. “Given the legal conflict prohibiting our office from prosecuting this matter, the Gordon County District Attorney’s Office is grateful for the incredible hard work and dedication of the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office in prosecuting this matter for our agency. We value our partnership with District Attorney Wallace and her team in Cherokee County,” said Gordon County District Attorney Samir Patel.