- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Charles County jury Wednesday found a Washington, D.C., man charged with stabbing two men at a Waldorf restaurant last winter guilty of attempted first-degree murder and attempted manslaughter following a three-day trial.
Ricardo Anthony Davis, 46, was at Wow Café & Wingery in Waldorf Marketplace with a friend Dec. 8 when two men — Thomas Campbell, 41, of the District and Raymond Cline, 38, of Suitland — approached them from behind, according to trial testimony.
Cline began speaking to Davis. Davis’ friend, Victor Jones of Upper Marlboro, testified that he noticed Davis talking to someone behind him and turned around to get between them, at which point Campbell punched Jones in the face three times.
Prosecutors said security footage shows that Davis then stabbed Cline in the neck with a switchblade knife. Campbell testified that he was walking toward the exit with his wounded friend when he felt someone stab him in the back of his head.
Both men left the restaurant, where off-duty Charles County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Calvin Roberts was posted as a part-time security officer.
Roberts testified that when Davis came out of the restaurant, the two wounded men began threatening him, indicating that Davis was the one who stabbed them. Roberts handcuffed Davis and placed him on the ground nearby before turning his attention to aiding the injured men.
With Roberts distracted, Davis got up and ran away across the parking lot, but another off-duty cop, sheriff’s special operations officer Larry Blake, who was at the restaurant as a customer, testified that he chased Davis down near Mimi’s Café. Blake handed Davis over to patrol officers arriving on the scene.
Officers soon found a black-handled switchblade beneath a floor mat at the restaurant’s entrance.
In a taped interview with detectives played to the jury, Davis admits to stabbing the two men with a black-handled knife before discarding the weapon near the restaurant’s front door.
“This is not a whodunit trial … because he admitted what he did,” County Assistant State’s Attorney Erick P. Gracia Jr. said in his closing argument. “The [security] video is not the case. All the video does is corroborate what the defendant said he did that night.”
Gracia rejected any claim that Davis was defending himself or Jones, and said it was clear that Davis meant to kill both men.
“When you stab two individuals in the neck and back of the skull, you intend to kill them,” Gracia said.
Public defender Michelle Harewood said in her closing statements that Davis and Jones were “attacked by two thugs,” and told the jury, “if you indeed believe he stabbed these two people, it was justified.”
Harewood tried to discredit the investigation, referring to the two detectives who interviewed Davis as a “tag team” and questioning why police never tested the knife for fingerprints or DNA evidence.
County Assistant State’s Attorney John A. Stackhouse said in his rebuttal that investigators didn’t need to test the knife because Davis admitted to the stabbings and correctly identified where he dropped the weapon.
“I guess they owe us an apology for solving the case?” he asked.
Stackhouse also rejected self-defense claims, calling Davis’ actions “a totally unreasonable response” to someone punching his friend.
“When you stab someone in the neck and the back of the skull, that’s a kill shot,” Stackhouse said. “He was mad and he was seeking revenge. … He saw his friend get punched and he was mad, so he stabbed two people.”
Davis was charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder for both stabbings, but County Circuit Judge Jerome Spencer explained to the jury that they could downgrade either or both counts to attempted voluntary manslaughter if they found Davis had acted in “partial” defense of either himself or Jones.
After deliberating for roughly three hours, jurors found Davis guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter for the first stabbing and attempted first-degree murder for running down the man who’d punched Jones.
The jury also found Davis guilty of first- and second-degree assault, carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, and second-degree escape, Stackhouse said.
Davis is set for sentencing in early September.