Originally created 07/19/00

Shooting suspects have charges pending

AIKEN - A suspect charged with killing an Aiken man has been in and out of jail on 11 charges since 1997, but only one of the charges has been before a court.

Christopher Davis has 10 charges pending in General Sessions Court that date to 1997. Nearly all of the charges are felonies that carry possible jail sentences of more than a year.

While awaiting trial, Mr. Davis repeatedly has found a way to get out on bond.

Aiken Public Safety Department officers know him well, charging the 20-year-old with dog fighting, possessing crack cocaine, stealing a car, failing to stop for a blue light and pointing a gun at a resident. They have arrested Mr. Davis eight times since he was 17.

Aiken police said his most recent offense was participating in the April 18 robbery and slaying of Paul Williams, a restaurant cook who was shot to death inside his York Street home. Mr. Davis, along with Reginald Stephens and Gregory Hill, has been charged with armed robbery and murder.

At the time of the slaying, Mr. Davis had posted bond on charges that he pointed a .25-caliber pistol at a resident on Bamberg Street and was in possession of crack cocaine.

On those charges, he persuaded his mother, Rose Marie Davis of Sundy Drive, to post his bond with $700 cash, the required amount for a $7,000 bond. Because Mr. Davis was already on bond for a half-dozen other charges, Magistrate Charles T. Carter agreed to release him only if he remained under house arrest at his mother's home. Mr. Davis agreed.

But before his charges were heard in court, police said, Mr. Davis joined the two other suspects in robbing and killing Mr. Williams, shooting the victim in the chest. An autopsy suggested Mr. Williams bled for an hour before dying on his bathroom floor.

"All I can say is that we live within the system," said Capt. Tom Galardi with the Aiken Department of Public Safety. "There's a lot of people out there who are out on bond who have committed other crimes."

Capt. Galardi said police are not responsible for setting bond. That is up to magistrate judges.

Mr. Davis' history is similar to another suspect charged in the Williams slaying.

Mr. Stephens, 44, has a nearly year-old charge pending for criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.

Aiken County sheriff's officials said he nearly choked his common-law wife to death in August, an alleged assault that required the victim to seek medical treatment because she couldn't breath and was vomiting. After waiting three months in jail for trial, Mr. Stephens made bond in November and was released.

Mr. Hill, 40, was charged in June with possession of crack cocaine within a half mile of a public park, charges that are pending. A hit-and-run charge from 1998 was dismissed when the victim failed to cooperate.

All three remain in the Aiken County Detention Center without bond. A Circuit Court judge is expected to address bond at a hearing in two weeks.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (803) 279-6895.


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