Son of delegate held in slaying Clarence R. Davis, 30, accused of driving car in fatal robbery try

February 18, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

The son of a state delegate who once proposed caning juvenile delinquents to help crack down on crime has been charged with murder in a fatal shooting during a robbery attempt last month.

Clarence R. Davis, 30, son of Del. Clarence Davis of Baltimore, was arrested Sunday after being questioned by homicide detectives. He was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Thomas "Blue" Jowers, 37, with whom he had been friends for seven years.

Police allege that the younger Davis drove three unidentified men to Jowers' house in the 1900 block of E. 30th St. on Jan. 30 and waited in the car as one of them with a gun went to the front porch.

After hearing two gunshots, police said, Davis picked up the armed man. "When the [gunman] entered the car, he advised [Davis] that he tried to rob the guy but shot him because he wouldn't give it up," according to court charging documents.

Police had not arrested anyone else in the slaying as of yesterday. Court documents say Davis has refused to identify the alleged gunman.

Delegate Davis, who represents crime-battered East Baltimore and gained prominence for his tough talk on crime and for berating drug dealers by shouting at them through a bullhorn, said yesterday that he stands by his son.

"He's simply saying he is innocent," Delegate Davis said of his son, who had never been arrested before. "He didn't kill anyone and he's not a criminal, and he doesn't know why he's in jail."

The victim's girlfriend, Lisa Williams, said the slaying has stolen her companion of nearly a decade; the father of her 7-year-old son, Kai Jowers; and the stepfather of Robert Foster, 21, a former Dunbar High basketball standout.

"[Kai's] dad did everything," a tearful Williams said yesterday. "He cooked him breakfast. He dressed him for school. I couldn't wake up and not see him.

"I wasn't a saint," she added. "Neither was [Jowers]. But that had nothing to do with what happened that night. He lost his life on his own porch. They didn't have to kill him. They shot him, and they took absolutely nothing."

The younger Davis' lawyer, William H. Murphy Jr., declined to comment on the case yesterday.

Delegate Davis would not discuss the case. His son is being held in the Central Booking and Intake Center without bail pending a court hearing scheduled for today.

The younger Davis graduated in 1984 from City College, where he excelled in baseball and football. He spent four years as a missile repairman with the 101st Airborne, with stints in Germany and at Fort Campbell, Ky.

"He's bright," the delegate said of his son. "He the most talented of all my kids. He was an outstanding athlete. He had awesome academic potential, when he chose to apply himself. I have faith in my son."

The senior Davis said the charges have devastated his family but will not deter him from speaking out against criminals. In his efforts to clean up the streets, he has tried to talk with young drug dealers and has called them out of their homes with bullhorns.

In February 1995, he unsuccessfully sponsored a bill to allow the state to "cane" teen-agers caught vandalizing or stealing cars. "Actually, it gets back to the old-fashioned love our grandparents and great-grandparents gave to us as a child," he said at the time. "Let's start making them think early on about the consequences of their acts."

Court documents say the younger Davis first told detectives that xTC he had been carjacked by three people and forced to drive them around Northeast Baltimore, where they tried to hold up several people.

But according to the documents, Davis changed his story and said he had voluntarily driven three people to Jowers' house and waited as a passenger went to rob Jowers. Davis "knew that this person was armed and was going to rob someone because attempted robberies were made earlier with the defendant being the driver," the documents state. Then, police said, he drove the gunman to Hoffman and Holbrook streets.

Police said Jowers died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. The second shot hit his front door.

"I want the person who pulled the trigger in jail," Williams said yesterday, clutching photographs of her two children.

Then she shouted: "Make sure Davis doesn't slip through the cracks just because of who his father is."

Pub Date: 2/18/97

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