Boyfriend and girlfriend, they lived together in a basement apartment described as a Virtual arsenal.
What happened in that Pasadena apartment Dec. 2, 1989, remains a bit of a mystery, but the results are indisputable; The girlfriend is dead of a gunshot wound to the face and the boyfriend is serving a four-year prison term for killing her.
Raymond Edward Davis, who says the shooting was accidental, was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday - with all but four years suspended - in connection with the death of Linda S. Kohlhoff. The lovers, both 24, had shared an apartment in the basement of Davis' father's house in the 7800 block of Water Oak Point Road.
Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Rogers yesterday told the court the apartment contained six pipe bombs with fuses, a sawed-off shotgun a silencer for an automatic rifle and other guns. After defense lawyers said the gun that fired the fatal shot was owned by Kohlhoff, Rogers countered that the woman was the legal owner of the gun only because Davis was unable to buy a gun because of his criminal record.
Assistant Public Defender Carol McCabe described the Davises as a "big NRA (National Rifle Association) family" that enjoyed target shooting. McCabe said the father has warned his son and his son's girlfriend about being careless with guns.
In maintaining the shooting was accidental, the son has said the small gun had a defective safety and went off when his girlfriend grabbed it. McCabe said the handgun apparently has a single bullet in its chamber because no clip was attached to the gun.
She also said a forensic pathologist had corroborated Davis' claim that the gun went off by accident when a bullet struck his girlfriend in the face.
McCabe went on to describe how Davis, with the help of his father, administered first aid to the wounded woman, following instructions from emergency personnel over the telephone. Medical personnel arrived and Kohlhoff was flown to University Hospital in Baltimore, where she died.
Davis was giving a statement to police when he was told of his girlfriend's death, McCabe said, adding her client became so hysterical the interview had to be ended.
Rogers, the prosecutor, said Davis and Kohlhoff were preparing to move to the trailer of Kohlhoff's mother when the incident occurred. Rogers said Davis' brother would have testified he was in the garage when he heard Davis and Kohlhoff arguing in the basement, followed by a popping sound.
After being arrested and charged with second-degree murder, Davis was released on bond, but that bond was revoked last March after a psychologist said that Davis was not only suicidal but also a threat to others, Rogers said. In a previous hearing, the prosecutor said Davis was charged with stealing guns from family members.
Rogers said Davis also has been indicted on federal weapons charges of possessing pipe bombs and a sawed-off shotgun.
At a Dec. 13 hearing Davis entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant concedes the existence of enough evidence to convict him but does not admit guilt. In return, the murder charge was dropped and an agreement was reached wherein the prosecutor would recommend no more than five years of actual prison time for Davis. Manslaughter caries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Sentencing guidelines showed Davis should be sentenced to four to nine years in prison. In addition to four years, Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. ordered Davis to be placed on five years supervised probation upon release.
The victim's mother and sister were emotional after yesterday's hearing, but declined to comment.
Davis said he remains distraught over his girlfriend's death. He said, "I loved Linda Kohlhoff with all my heart, more than anything in the world."