The Killer Inside Him

The twisted life--and lethal secrets--of Gary Davis.

Drunk, Davis had a perfect excuse for failing in his matrimonial duties: "Yes, I was impotent while drinking and around Becky towards our last months together. To be blunt, it was damn hard to even get a hard-on when Becky would give me a blow job. I just didn't have any feelings for her."

It was a situation worthy of a Jim Thompson novel. In prison Davis had met the woman of his dreams, but now that he was on the outside, he found himself trapped in a beer-soaked nightmare with a "fat broad" he couldn't stand. Desperate to live out the fantasies they'd promised each other for so long, they propositioned other residents of the apartment complex. Although they were usually turned down, on occasion Fincham would engage in sex with a female neighbor or the neighbor's husband while Davis watched.

It wasn't enough. Davis's attention was drawn to another female tenant, whom he found much more attractive than his wife or her playmate. He told a buddy that he wanted to drug the woman and rape her.

Fincham became suspicious of her husband, demanding a frequent accounting of his activities and whereabouts. She also started fooling around with his hair, dyeing it different colors. "I think it made her feel like she was out with someone different all the time," Davis mused.

After six months the Davises had worn out their welcome at the apartment house. They were accused of ripping off tenants, taking money for services and repairs that were never provided. Their constant lying, drinking and sex talk were generating other complaints. So Becky answered an ad for a ranch hand on the eastern plains, faking a resume that claimed the couple had been married sixteen years and had extensive farm experience.

In February 1986 they got the job and moved to Byers. The community was small, the prospects for wife-swapping quite bleak. As a rule, Davis had to go into town if he wanted to ogle other women. Fincham often came with him. Sometimes, Davis would later say, they talked about kidnapping women and turning them into sex slaves.

In May they went to a discount store in Fort Morgan and bought a .22 semi-automatic rifle. The purchase was a violation of Davis's parole, but he didn't think anyone would notice or care. They didn't.

If anyone asked him what the rifle was for, Davis had his answer ready. It was for all the snakes around his house.

I think Rebecca could have done a lot more than just shoot someone. You would have had to of seen her during the crime. She had so much jealous anger built up that I didn't even know who she was. (11/10/87)

I would get crazy thoughts in my head and my friend would give me the courage to live them out. (From "My Friend," an essay about alcoholism that Davis wrote while on death row.)

Gary Davis drank heavily in the weeks leading up to the murder. Bloated and bleary-eyed, he and Becky cruised around Fort Morgan, searching for their ideal "playmate." But as he saw it, the best prospects were located close to home, on the ranch adjacent to the property where the Davises lived. He talked often about his slender, attractive neighbors, Virginia May and her sister-in-law, Sue MacLennan--talk that made Becky furious.

A ranch hand would later testify that Davis made coarse remarks about May when they repaired fences close to her property. One time, while relieving himself, he even waved his genitals in the direction of her home, saying, "Come on, Virginia, baby. I'm here. Come to me."

The oldest in a close-knit ranch family, May was just weeks shy of her 34th birthday. She had a husband, a young son and daughter and a busy life of her own. She had no reason to suspect that she'd become a featured player in the squalid, pornographic movie playing in Davis's head. She barely knew Gary Davis.

As it turned out, Fincham and Davis targeted May only after two other attempts failed. On July 18, 1986, a woman named Tammy Beauprez, who lived on a farm south of Wiggins, was visited by a couple in a car bearing Kansas plates. While the woman driver asked directions to Byers, the man got out and tried to move behind Beauprez. When Beauprez's husband appeared, the man got back in the car and the couple took off. Beauprez later identified the odd visitors as Becky and Gary Davis.

Three days later--July 21, the last day of Davis's parole--Sue MacLennan received a phone call from Becky, who wanted to know if her husband was home. When MacLennan said he wasn't, Becky offered to drop off some used clothes for MacLennan's children. There were no clothes, but shortly after the call the Davises showed up at MacLennan's house with the .22 rifle in their car. Seeing a male ranch hand outside the house, Becky stayed only long enough for a quick iced tea. Her husband never got out of the car.

Early that evening the Davises showed up at Virginia May's door. May was expecting them; Becky had called her, too, offering children's clothes. She came out of the house with her four-year-old, Krista. Becky lured her to a tool shed with a request to borrow some wire stretchers. When they emerged, Gary Davis punched May in the face and dragged her into the car, while Becky shooed Krista into the house.

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