Courts & Crime

Missouri Supreme Court will hear death row inmate's appeal

The Missouri Supreme Court will hear arguments this week in the appeal of a man sentenced to death for the rape, torture and murder of a woman in 2006.

Richard D. Davis was convicted by a Jackson County jury in 2008 for the killing of Marsha Spicer at his Independence residence. Spicer's body was later found in a shallow grave in Lafayette County, Mo.

Davis, 45, and his girlfriend, Dena Riley, 43, videotaped the assault of Spicer and prosecutors presented video excerpts and still photos at Davis' trial. Riley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In his appeal, Davis argues that showing duplicate images of the assault to the jurors was prejudicial because of their "graphic, sexual, violent content."

He also argues that he was denied the right to represent himself at trial because the judge misrepresented the law to him.

Other appeal issues include questions about jury selection, Davis' decision not to testify during the guilt phase of the capital murder trial and the wording of court documents used to seek the death penalty.

Arguments before the court are scheduled for Wednesday.

Davis is also awaiting trial in Clay County for the death of another woman, Michelle Huff-Ricci.