Wendy Davis Victim of Bizarre Crime in 2013

Intruder broke into her house while she was sleeping and stole her car

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A burglar broke into the west Fort Worth home of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis last year while she was sleeping, came face-to-face with her boyfriend and then walked into her garage and stole her car, according to police records obtained by NBC DFW.

    The break-in happened in April 2013 before Davis became a Democratic candidate for Texas governor.

    But the case went to court in January after she had announced her intention to run, and Davis testified.

    News of the crime and Davis' connection has not been previously reported.

    The intruder is now serving an eight-year prison sentence.

    NBC DFW learned about what happened from a law enforcement source and obtained the complete police report under the Texas Open Records law.

    According to the report, Donnell Dickerson, now 24, walked into Davis' house about 6 p.m. on April 13, 2013.

    Davis' boyfriend, former Austin Mayor William Wynn, told an officer he had been outside doing yard work  when he walked into the kitchen and was confronted by an intruder, later identified as Dickerson.

    Wynn said he asked Dickerson who he was and what he wanted and the man replied, "I must be in the wrong house," turned around and walked into the garage.

    Wynn said Dickerson then got behind the driver's seat of Davis' 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe. The keys were already inside.

    Dickerson then turned on the ignition, put it in reverse and drove off.

    As Wynn was telling the arriving officer what had happened, Dickerson suddenly returned without explanation.

    Wynn said, "There's the car and that's the guy," according to the report.

    The officer pulled out her gun and ordered Dickerson out of the sport utility vehicle.

    Wynn said Davis was taking a nap at the time, never knew a stranger had been inside her house and stolen her car and did not wake up until after police had arrived.

    Dickerson was arrested on charges of burglary and car theft.

    JANUARY TRIAL

    In January, he pleaded guilty to the two charges and agreed to let a jury sentence him.

    Davis, then a candidate for governor, testified in the case, according to Dickerson's attorney, Mamie Johnson.

    Johnson said her client gets easily confused and walked into the wrong house.

    "It was highly unusual," Johnson said.  "He didn’t realize it was her house or he would have run out of there faster than he did."

    She did not explain where he had intended to go or why he stole Davis' car, but said he suffers from mental lapses.

    "He was so disappointed and shocked when I told him, 'Do you realize whose house you were in?'" Johnson said. "He was disappointed because he felt like it might cause him problems … Anytime it involves a public official, one would have to be concerned."

    Johnson said she also was worried that Davis' status as a candidate for governor would mean a tougher sentence, but she said she believed he received a fair trial.

    She said the jury was told that Davis was the victim, and neither she nor prosecutors wanted politics to be a factor.

    "We tried not to put anyone on the jury who was a big fan of hers" and prosecutors didn't want any big critics, Johnson said.

    Davis testified for about 15 minutes, Johnson said.

    In the end, the jury sentenced Dickerson to eight years in prison.

    "He was satisfied" with the sentence, Johnson said. "It could have been a lot more."

    Dickerson had a previous record for theft. 

    CAMPAIGN STATEMENT

    The campaign never publicized the incident or Davis' court appearance and reporters never learned of it at the time.

    When asked if Davis tried to keep what happened out of the news, her campaign spokeswoman Rebecca Acuna did not answer directly.

    But in a written statement, she said Davis is grateful for the "prompt and professional response" of Fort Worth police and Dickerson's immediate arrest.

    "The prosecution of this matter is now complete and she urges everyone to take every precaution to ensure their families are safe," the statement said.

    The police report omits Davis' first name and refers to her only as "W. Davis." It also gives an incorrect address for her home, using the block number but not her specific address.

    Fort Worth police spokesman Sgt. Ray Bush said he could not explain, but added it might have been done to protect her privacy since she was a state senator at the time.