Franklin Davis Confesses to Shania Gray's Murder

Police say teenager killed to silence her before sexual assault trial

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hundreds of friends and family attended a vigil for the 16-year-old girl allegedly killed by the man accused of sexually assaulting her. Police said Shania Gray was slain to keep her from testifying against him.

    Franklin Davis, 30, is being held on a $2 million bond after confessing to the slaying of a Carrollton teenager.

    Shania Gray, a 16-year-old student athlete at Hebron High School, was killed Thursday, two days before a cyclist found her body along the Trinity River, police said.

    Carrollton investigators said Gray was killed to prevent her from testifying in the sexual assault case she had pending against him. Mesquite police said Davis had sex with Gray four times in 2010 when she was 14 years old while she was babysitting his children.

    Davis was arrested in July 2011 and posted bond the next month.

    New Details in Teen's Death

    [DFW] New Details in Teen's Death
    Carrollton police released the arrest affidavit for Franklin Davis which detailed the case 16-year-old Shania Gray was going to testify against him in and the last hours of her life.

    According to an affidavit released Monday, Gray's mother, Sherry James, reported her daughter missing Friday when the girl never returned home from school. James told police she was supposed to pick up her daughter at about 4 p.m. Thursday but had been unable to find her.

    Gray, a recent transfer from Mesquite's Horn High School, had only attended Hebron for two days.

    According to Davis' confession in the affidavit, he picked up Gray on Thursday afternoon and drove her to the trail head at Champion Trail near Valley View Lane and Interstate 635.

    Davis told police Gray spotted a .380 pistol in his possession along the way and asked if he was going to hurt her. He said he told the girl he only wanted to talk about the case. Once at the trail head, Davis led Gray down the trail to the Trinity River, where he shot her twice with the pistol, he told police. Davis told police that the teenager asked him, 'Why?' as she partially fell into the Trinity River, clinging to life, before he strangled her with his foot.

    In the affidavit, Davis said he won Gray's trust with a fake social media profile and a prepaid phone. Posing as someone else, he convinced Gray to meet him at the school, he said. Davis told police that when he arrived at the school, Gray was surprised to see him.

    In evaluating Gray's cellphone records, detectives learned in the days leading up to her disappearance and slaying that Davis and Gray had been in contact as recently as Thursday. The records also revealed that Davis and Gray's phones were in the same area at the same time -- at Hebron High School -- at about 4 p.m. Thursday.

    After waiving his rights and confessing to the girl's murder, Davis led police to several locations to recover evidence of the crime, according to the affidavit.

    Carrollton police said they never issued an Amber Alert for Gray's disappearance Friday because there wasn't any evidence to indicate she was in danger.

    "At that point in the investigation, until we found the body, [there] really wasn't any evidence that anything had happened to her," said Jon Stovall, Carrollton police spokesman. "It didn't meet the elements of Amber Alert, anyway, for that. So once we got to the point where we that she wasn't a runaway, we got enough information, we requested assistance from the media in locating her. Literally in minutes of us doing that, her body was found in Irving."

    Police said there is no indication that any one else is involved in the teenager's death.

    Friends in Disbelief Over Teen's Slaying

    On Monday, grief counselors were at Horn High in Mesquite, where Gray attended school until this year.

    There was a candlelight vigil for her outside of the school at 7 p.m. Monday night.

    "Thank all of you," said Dwayne James, Gray's stepfather. "It means a lot to me and my family, and it means a whole lot to Shania. God bless Shania."

    "The Lord must need another choir member in his heavenly choir, and he looked down on Shania and summoned her on home," W.R. Willis, pastor of Calvary Temple, said at the vigil.

    Former classmates and coaches said they were devastated by such a tragic loss of such a promising teenager.

    "I miss Shania so much. It's just not fun without her here, because she made everyone laugh and was just so happy. It's going to be so different without her here," said 10th-grader Destinee Harris.

    Harris fought back tears of grief before school. She said Gray had a huge effect on her friends in her two years at Horn High.

    "I'll miss her smile," she said. "She always came to class smiling. She was just so energetic. She loved to sing. She was a beautiful singer."

    "She wouldn't have just gotten in willingly," Marquis Jones said of Gray getting into Davis' car.

    "There's a lot of anger, a lot of emotions, but at the same time, just a lot of sadness," said Shelby Holland, Horn JV girls basketball coach.

    Holland said the team is trying to focus on Gray's life, not the horrific details of her death.

    "Focusing on a man like that, or the likes of a man like that, is not how we want to remember her," she said. "We want to spend our time talking about the hugs she was constantly giving out, the wonderful life she held for us while she was here. To see the kind of kid she was and that untapped potential for the kind of woman she would become -- it's just sad to sit here and think, 'We'll never know what kind of great young woman she'd become.'"

    NBC 5's Ray Villeda and Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.