A North Texas jury has sentenced Franklin Davis to death.
After taking a break following six hours of deliberations on Friday, the jury resumed deliberations at about 8:45 a.m. Saturday. In just over an hour, the sentence of death was handed down.
"He tried to do everything he could to drag her name through the mud for the last year and a half and a jury finally stood up to him and brought her a sense of closure and sense of protection," said Brandon Birmingham, chief felony prosecutor. "For Shania's family, this brings a sense of closure. It brings a certain measure of justice for their daughter and that's why they were looking for the entire time."
Jurors in Dallas received the case in the penalty phase for Davis on Friday. The same jury on Tuesday convicted Davis of capital murder in the 2012 slaying of 16-year-old Shania Gray.
"I feel blessed and I feel good and I think it's a good day. Justice was served. Shania wasn't hear to speak for herself but he tried to make her out to be a monster but she was a really good child," said Tona Alexander, family friend.
The girl alleged Davis raped her and planned to testify against him. Davis has admitted killing the teen but denied sexually assaulting her when she was 14. Investigators say Davis shot the girl while at an Irving park and then stepped on her throat. Her body was found in the Trinity River.
Sherry Gray-James, the victim's mother, was called to the stand as the prosecution's last witness during the sentencing phase of the trial.
"The impact it’s had on our life is nothing compared to what Shania went through. I wouldn’t even dare to try and compare it, but having my safety taken away and then my daughter brutally taken away because of someone who’s a coward ... having my daughter’s integrity questioned ... all of this loss is just compounded because one person couldn’t tell the truth," Gray-James said. "I have to think about it every single day. That a babysitting job cost her her innocence. It cost her her life. It cost her her future, her very first baby sitting job. This is not for me, it’s for Shania."Deliberations will continue on Saturday and Monday, if necessary.