SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A jury is recommending that a man convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering a 19-year-old girl in Seminole County three years ago be sentenced to death.
On Wednesday, the jury recommended that the judge sentence Davis to death. The majority decision came in at 7-5. The judge will make the ruling, but gives great weight to the jury's recommendation.
Malave's family began sobbing uncontrollably, hugging a photo album after the recommendation as read.
"It's kind of mixed emotions, because we don't really care about him. It's about my sister. And the fact that the jury recommended death doesn't make a difference, because she's not here," said Malave's sister, Wenddy Valez. "But we're glad that he didn't get away with it. And he'll have two months to think about whether he's getting life or death. It's like mental torture. As mean as that sounds, he didn't care about my sister and I don't really care about how he feels."
A final hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10.
Lawyers for both sides addressed Davis' plea to the jury to recommend a death sentence. The defense said not to give him what he wanted, and prosecutors said it didn't matter what he wanted, it's what the law calls for, which is for Davis to be put to death.
"That's the easy way. In this particular case the death penalty would be a lesser punishment," said defense attorney Tim Caudill.
The defense said Davis' abusive childhood, his mental illness and his family's history of mental illness and substance abuse contributed to his brutality the day he kidnapped Malave and took her to his Orange County home where he raped and killed her.
"His arm is hard around her neck. She knows he's trying to kill her. She starts kicking her legs. She tries to scratch him," said prosecutor Pat Whitaker.