Longform

The Killer Inside Him

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Davis didn't get his threesome; that would come later, as his quest for variety became increasingly bizarre and violent. Instead, he spent much of the last three years of the marriage in trouble with the law. In 1979 he lured a young female clerk out of a convenience store in Baca County on the pretext of needing help with the ice machine; once outside, he held a knife to her neck and dragged her into an alley. The woman struggled and escaped, sustaining wounds to her hand and throat.

Clearly, Davis had rape on his mind, but he wound up copping a plea to felony menacing. He spent less than a year in prison.

He was out only a matter of months when he got caught again. This time the victim was a fifteen-year-old girl, the daughter of one of Leona's friends. Davis claimed the girl reported him because he'd promised her $300 for sex, then reneged; prosecutors, though, believed the girl, who said Davis had pulled a knife on her and raped her.

Incredibly, this time Davis managed to plea-bargain his way to an eight-year sentence for sexual assault--which meant that barring bad behavior, he'd be out of prison in less than four. In hindsight, it's easy to see that he was headed for worse crimes; both assaults were the unmistakable acts of a violent predator, a man who chose the most helpless victims he could find. But in the early 1980s, programs for sex offenders were still in their infancy. The criminal-justice system tended to treat men like Davis as poor dumb shlubs who just needed to keep a sober head on their shoulders.

Corrections officers regarded Davis as a model prisoner. He kept to himself, earned special privileges, went through the motions of alcohol treatment--all the while thinking about that first drink he was going to take the moment he hit the street. And, like a lot of cons, he began to collect female pen pals.

One day another inmate gave Davis the address of Rebecca Fincham, a lonely woman who'd answered the inmate's personal ad in a newspaper. Davis began to write to her, too. Fincham wrote back, telling him about her two young daughters and her unhappy marriage to a man who drank too much. Davis sympathized and flirted. After two or three letters, she asked, "Do you miss sex?"

It was not so much a question as an invitation. Hell, yes, Davis wrote, he missed it. In short order, Fincham's letters went from coy to teasing to torrid. To call them "sexually explicit" would be an understatement; they oozed sex.

Becky Fincham talked a good game, Davis learned, and had the experience to back it up. As investigators would later discover, Fincham and her husband had been involved in wife-swapping on an Army base in West Germany--the husband claimed it was Becky's idea--and had returned to the United States with a cache of pornography and sex toys.

Davis was impressed. Here was a woman who wasn't shy or prim, a woman whose rich and varied store of fantasies could keep pace with his own. He had found his match at last. His mate.

Together they would do terrible things.

This victim in this crime was not touched by me in no way. That story I told while on the stand was to get Becky off. It was Becky's crime not mine. (7/27/89)

Davis had to revise his image of Becky Fincham after she started visiting him in prison. She was obese and seemed to be missing her eyebrows. She had scars on her breasts and arms, which she told Davis were the result of a sexual assault that occurred on an Army base in Georgia years before. He thought she was repulsive; years later, he even recalled being "scared of her because she was so overweight."

Yet Davis could not have asked for a more attentive girlfriend. She bought him a television, boots and expensive silk handkerchiefs; now divorced, she visited every weekend, bringing her daughters with her, and always provided him with spending money, ten or twenty bucks a week. Davis figured she could take care of him during his prison stretch and maybe afterward, too.

During one visit in 1984, he asked her if she would marry him. Much to his surprise, she said yes. They were married over the phone by a minister. Fincham's daughters began to call him "Daddy."

Not long after the ceremony, another inmate became interested in Fincham's thirteen-year-old daughter and asked Davis if he could write to her. Neither he nor Fincham had any objections. In fact, the ever-helpful Becky sent the boys a special treat: a photo of herself topless for Davis, a semi-nude shot of her daughter for his pal. The photos were intercepted by prison officials. Fincham was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, and her visiting privileges were revoked.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast