At least 15 gov’t witnesses in DC hammer attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — District of Columbia prosecutors plan to call at least 15 witnesses in the trial of a man charged in a series of random hammer attacks last year, according to a letter sent this week to his lawyers.

One of the witnesses is prepared to testify that 20-year-old Michael Davis, the younger brother of NFL players Vernon and Vontae Davis, was not taking medicine for a psychiatric illness at the time of the attacks in late April 2012, prosecutors wrote. Another witness responsible for giving Davis his medication could not remember administering the drug over the course of several days, including on April 24, when authorities say Davis fatally attacked a man visiting from Colorado.

The witnesses are not identified by name but past statements — and presumably expected trial testimony — is summarized in the court filing.

Davis was charged last year with random and unprovoked attacks in a residential neighborhood of northwest Washington. One man, Gary Dederichs, a 66-year-old retired nurse visiting from Colorado and staying in a private home, was killed as he walked alone down the street.

The statements, taken together, reveal concern over Davis’s mental health, with some saying he suffered from schizophrenia, would talk to himself, claim to hear voices and would call out unfamiliar names.

“According to Witness J, sometimes the defendant acted like he didn’t trust anyone, and sometimes he didn’t want anyone to touch him, or even sit by him,” prosecutors wrote in summarizing the witness’s expected testimony. “Witness J was aware that the defendant took pills for his schizophrenia, and never saw him refuse to take his medications.”

Davis’ mental health has been at issue since his arrest. Papers filed in court last year show he had earlier been admitted for psychiatric treatment after experiencing hallucinations, laughing and yelling inappropriately at school and lying on the bathroom floor at home for an hour talking to himself.

After having initially been found temporarily incompetent for trial, he was deemed competent in May, and a status hearing is scheduled for August 30 in D.C. Superior Court.

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