A Georgia man will spend one year in prison after police discovered a sawed-off shotgun inside his house while responding to a domestic dispute last year.
Robert Bentley Davis, 60, pleaded guilty in June to violating the National Firearms Act, some nine months after law enforcement in Troup County took him into custody for allegedly beating his wife and hiding the Stevens Model 94C, .410 gauge sawed-off shotgun under a couch pillow.
“Anyone who uses a firearm to intimidate, threaten or terrorize another person poses a significant danger to everyone in our community,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Arthur Peralta. “As a community, we must send a strong message that we will not tolerate this kind of behavior from anyone. Mr. Davis displayed a clear disregard for our laws and his conviction and sentencing is a clear message that this conduct will not be tolerated.”
According to court documents, neighbors called police to the Davis’s 17-acre property in LaGrange, Georgia in September 2017 after hearing Lisa Davis in distress. Once on scene, Lisa Davis — bleeding from multiple wounds on her head and face — ran to officers for cover, saying her husband had a shotgun inside the family’s trailer.
U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak said responding officers described Lisa Davis’s blood appearance “like a horror movie” and smelled alcohol on Robert Davis’s breath. He denied causing his wife’s injuries and continued “verbally assaulting” her as police searched the house. Pak argued for a maximum sentence of 27 months, according to court documents.
“Thankfully, Mrs. Davis was not killed,” he said in a sentencing memorandum filed last month. “And while her she may have healed physically and has forgiven Davis, emotional damage may well remain. Responding to domestic assault calls can be volatile for both officers and the abuser’s victims. The public must be protected. Mrs. Davis must be protected.”
Davis’s legal team argued for a sentence of six months time served and six months on house arrest, according to court documents, citing his lack of prior convictions and character witness letters from his wife and two children describing him as “a generous person who has lived a good life and would do anything for anyone who needs help.”
“Mr. Davis will forever regret the events of September 12, 2017,” said Courtney O’Donnell, Davis’s public defender, in a sentencing memorandum filed last month. “However, prior to that day, Mr. Davis and his wife ‘had a good life together.’ Mrs. Davis stated that prior to that day he had not ‘been mean or hit her.’ Instead, she said that he ‘has always been a good father and husband and would do anything for anyone.’”
Investigators pursued the case as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national effort to increase coordination between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to reduce violent crime rates in some of America’s most dangerous cities.
“The District Attorney’s office expresses our continued appreciation of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative and values working with the United States Attorney and other participants to keep our communities safe from violent crime,” said Herb Cranford, District Attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit. “We sincerely believe this initiative provides our local communities a crucial layer of protection against gun violence. As a result, Robert Bentley Davis, who brutally assaulted his wife while in possession of a sawed-off shotgun, has been brought to justice.”