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Guilty verdict in trial for dragging death
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man who dragged a 6-year-old boy to his death during a carjacking was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder.
Kim Davis, 35, of Kansas City, also was found guilty of kidnapping, first-degree tampering and armed criminal action in the death of Jake Robel.
Jake's mother, Christy Robel, shed tears as a Jackson County jury delivered its verdict, reached after just under four hours of deliberation. The Davis family sat silently.
Prosecutors, who said they will seek the death penalty, argued during the weeklong trial that Davis knew he was dragging the boy alongside his mother's Chevy Blazer as he sped down Interstate 70 near Independence. Jake was caught in a seatbelt while Davis was stealing the vehicle.
Prosecutor Bob Beaird told jurors Friday that Jake's body would have bounced against the Blazer as Davis drove away.
"Everybody understands the sound a belt buckle makes on the side of a car," Beaird said. "That was a 40-pound boy -- 40 pounds of muscle, skin and bone; what must that have sounded like?"
Defense attorneys conceded that Davis dragged Jake to death on Feb. 22, 2000. But they argued for conviction on a lesser crime, manslaugher, contending that Davis did not know the boy was dragging until motorists stopped him.
Defense lawyer Christopher Slusher said a loud radio, road noise and fear of capture kept Davis from hearing the boy's bouncing.
Davis did not testify during the trial.