COLUMBIA — Sixteen-year-old Damien Davis was sentenced to 20 years in prison for first-degree assault, 20 for armed criminal action and 10 for attempted first-degree robbery Friday in the December shooting of a Walmart employee.
The victim, Ken Jacobs, was attacked by Damien Davis and Darrius Davis, who are unrelated, in the parking lot of the Walmart on Conley Avenue while on a break at about 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 14. Jacobs was shot five times by Damien Davis. He survived but now is unable to perform his regular work duties.
Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton pronounced the sentence Friday morning, after a jury convicted Damien Davis on Thursday. Hamilton did not rule whether the sentences would run consecutively or concurrently. Hamilton is retiring and said he would leave it to another judge to make that decision during a disposition hearing in October.
The jury deliberated for about an hour Friday regarding the sentence.
Willie Davis, Damien Davis' father, said he wasn't surprised by the jury's recommendation.
“I expected that to happen. … You could tell the jury was doing exactly what the prosecutor told them to do,” he said.
Damien Davis was convicted largely on the testimony of Darrius Davis, who pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree robbery in the case and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard Hicks argued the jury should believe Darrius Davis because he has consistently told the same story and because Damien Davis behaved like a guilty man after the crime. He was hiding in his closet, for example, when police came to arrest him.
Defense attorney Michael Byrne, however, told the jury that Darrius Davis had changed his story about who owned the gun used in the crime.
“When I looked into Darrius’ eyes, I saw evil, a level of nihilism … a level of complete disregard," Byrne said during sentencing arguments Friday. "In Damien's eyes, I don’t see that. I see a 16-year-old boy.”