Gruesome Beating of Stephenville Man Detailed

WARNING: Article contains graphic descriptions of violence

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Erath County Sheriff's Dept.
    The Erath County Sheriff says Dustin Davis (left), 25, was arrested in the attack on Ricky Stephens Tuesday. Investigators are still looking for Danny Dittoe (center), 39, and Lanny Walton (right), 27.

    WARNING: The following article includes graphic descriptions of violence

    A Stephenville man who survived a brutal attack last month was beaten with a tree limb, burned, and had his scrotum cut. One of the three men who did it then went to church hours later so he would have an alibi, according to a court document released Wednesday.

    Ricky Stephens, 43, was found on Feb. 17 in a field near FM 205 on the border between Erath and Hood counties and is now being treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

    Dustin Davis, 25, was arrested in the attack on Tuesday. Investigators are looking for two more men, Danny Dittoe, 39, and Lanny Walton, 27.

    An investigator described the attack in an arrest warrant.

    When deputies were dispatched to a "suspicious person" call that Sunday afternoon, they found Stephens was wearing only a shirt wrapped around his waist and had a large amount of dried blood on his head, face and upper body.

    He was taken to a Stephenville hospital, where doctors found two lacerations on the top of his head and bleeding in his brain.

    They also discovered he had "sustained a laceration to his scrotum as well, exposing one of his testes."

    Stephens was first airlifted to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth for treatment, he was transferred to Parkland Burn Unit in Dallas for treatment of second and third degree burns on his abdomen, lower back and hands.

    The arrest warrant does not reveal a motive for the attack or describe how the men may have known each other.

    A woman who lives on the property said she allowed Dittoe to stay in her house with a friend so they could work on a truck transmission. The woman stayed with her parents, who live nearby, the warrant said.

    "Danny called her the next morning to ask her if he could go to church with her," the investigator wrote. "(She) thought it was odd cause Danny never goes to church and that knowing what she knows now believes Danny was trying to build an alibi."

    The warrant also describes graphic details of what happened from someone who was there and is now an informant.

    He said he was awakened about 9:30 a.m. by a second suspect, Lanny Walton, who was "jumping around the house without a shirt on acting crazy."

    The informant said Walton described what they had done to Stephens "and that they were going to go back and do more."

    They walked through a pasture and found Stephens was still alive, "begging and screaming for them to stop."

    The informant described hearing Stephens being beaten and followed the sound of him yelling. "Victim turned with his forearms pulled over his face," according to the warrant. Davis "swung the large tree limb really hard, striking (the) victim really hard."

    At that point, the informant feared Stephens was dead, and pulled Davis away.

    It wasn’t until about 2 p.m. that someone called the sheriff’s office.

    "He didn’t deserve what they did to him," Stephens sister, Ronieva Davis, said in a recent interview.