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Man Says He Has No Regrets About Killing Mayor Over Sewer Dispute

June 2, 1987 GMT

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) _ Ralph Orin Davis testified Monday that he would change only one thing about the night he walked into a Mount Pleasant City Council meeting, shot and killed the mayor and wounded two council members.

″I would get a better gun,″ Davis said.

Davis, 69, is charged with murder in the death of Mayor Edward King during a Dec. 10 City Council meeting and with two counts of attempted murder in the wounding of council members Ronald Dupree and Joann Sankey.

Davis was the first witness called as his lawyers, T.K. Ford and Michael Schilling, tried to build an insanity or diminished capacity defense.

The prosecution ended its case Friday after Dupree and Ms. Sankey testified that Davis was the man who walked into the meeting at Mount Pleasant City Hall and began shooting.

Davis testified that he decided the morning of Dec. 10 to kill the council members, saying he had a long-running disagreement with the City Council over the sewer backing up into his basement.

Prosecutor Thomas Miller, an Iowa assistant attorney general, asked Davis if he was sorry for what he had done.

″No feeling of shame. No feeling of regret,″ Davis said.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Davis would be sentenced to prison for life, unless a governor changed the sentence to a fixed term. However, if he is found innocent by reason of insanity, Davis would be confined to a mental institution until doctors pronounced him able to be released.

Davis said he would rather go to jail than a mental institution.

″I wouldn’t want to be around all those crazy people,″ Davis said.

Ford questioned Davis about his 3 1/2 years as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II and about his dispute with the city over the sewer.

Davis said he was not suffering flashbacks from his imprisonment or mental delusions, and testified that he felt the shootings were justified.

Davis said he presented bills totaling $350 to the council for repairs to his house after 1986 flooding, but they refused to pay.

He described how he had loaded his .22-caliber automatic pistol about 9 p.m. Dec. 10, walked to city hall and waited until the meeting was almost over. He said he first shot Dupree, then fired at King and Ms. Sankey.

″You knew you were shooting them in the head?″ Miller asked.

″Yes,″ Davis replied.

″And you were doing this with the intention of killing them?″ Miller asked.

″Yes,″ Davis said.