Indiana Death Row

(Chijoke Bomani Ben-Yisrayl)


DOB: 01-06-1962 DOC#: 13158 Black Male

Marion County Superior Court
Judge Roy F. Jones

Prosecutor: David E. Cook, Brian Jennings

Defense: Timothy Bookwalter

Date of Murder: April 2, 1984

Victim(s): Debra A. Weaver W/F/21 (Former roommate of Davis' acquaintance)

Method of Murder: stabbing with 2 knives 113 times (11 before death)

Summary: Davis was acquainted with victim's former roommate, and visited her residence many times. He had told the roommate of his sexual interest in her. He went to her unoccupied residence, broke and entered through a back window, removed the light bulbs, and waited. When the victim arrived, she called her brother and feared that an intruder may sill be inside. When she hung up, Davis attacked her, tied her hands, and gagged her. Davis took her to a highway overpass, where he raped, sodomized, and stabbed her to death. The body was discovered and revealed chipped teeth, abrasions, multiple bruises on lips and gums, strangulation marks, seminal fluid in her vagina, and 113 stab wounds on the chest and abdomen. After initially claiming that he had only witnessed the crime, Davis confessed and took police to a creek where the knives were recovered. Serology from the semen showed Davis to be in the 1% of the general population with the same characteristics.

Murder, Burglary (B Felony), Confinement (B Felony), Rape (A Felony);
Found Not Guilty of Criminal Deviate Conduct (A Felony)
Hung Jury on Death Sentence

Sentencing: October 26, 1984 (Death Sentence, 20 years, 20 years, 50 years)

Aggravating Circumstances: b(1) Burglary, Confinement, Rape; Lying in Wait

Mitigating Circumstances: no significant history of criminal conduct (although prior Burglary conviction and Delinquency finding), hung jury at DP Sentencing Hearing, alcoholism, confessed

Direct Appeal:
Davis v. State, 598 N.E.2d 1041 (Ind. September 1, 1992)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Affirmed 5-0
Dickson Opinion; Shepard, Debruler, Givan, Krahulik concur.
Davis v. Indiana, 114 S. Ct. 392 (1993) (Cert. denied)

02-16-94 PCR Petition filed.
Granted by Special Judge Cynthia Emkes as to death sentence only, denied as to convictions on 05-31-96. Remand ordered for new penalty phase trial and sentencing, but not as to conviction.

Ben-Yisrayl v. State, 738 N.E.2d 253 (Ind. November 8, 2000)
Cross appeals on granting PCR as to death penalty, denying PCR as to convictions.
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Vacated 5-0
Dickson Opinion; Shepard, Sullivan Boehm, Rucker concur.
Davis v. Indiana, 114 S. Ct. 392 (1993)

On Remand:
On 06-27-03 Marion County Superior Court Judge Grant W. Hawkins granted a Motion to Dismiss Death Penalty, holding IC 35-50-2-9 unconstitutional on the grounds that Ring v. Arizona requires that aggravators outweigh mitigators “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which our statute does not require.

State v. Ben-Yisrayl, 809 N.E.2d 309 (Ind. May 25, 2004) (49S00-0308-PD-391)
(Interlocutory appeal by State, on transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, following dismissal of death penalty charges by Marion Superior Court Judge Grant W. Hawkins)
Reversed 5-0; Opinion by Dickson; Shepard, Sullivan, Boehm, Rucker concur.
(Rucker notes that Ring/Apprendi requires that weighing be “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but would not declare statute unconstitutional. He would simply construe the statute to implicitly require such a standard.) Remanded for reinstatement of the death penalty request.


As of July 1, 2006

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