Courtney Nicole Davis, 20, had been free on bond since the Sept. 11, 2014 arson fire at Laurel Oaks apartments on Royale Road, and she was supposed to enter a plea and be sentenced during a hearing that had been scheduled for March 29 in Clarke County Superior Court.
She never showed up for the hearing, and on April 20, a bench warrant for Davis’ arrest was issued by Western Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard, according to court records.
After firefighters finished extinguishing the Laurel Oaks fire, they found two dead dogs in a back room of the apartment, where authorities said Davis had spent the night, according to an Athens-Clarke County police search warrant. The search warrant was granted on a detective’s request to search the apartment for ignitable fluids or other evidence of arson.
The affidavit states that on the morning of the fire, a neighbor went out to get something from her car and noticed smoke coming from the apartment. After the apartment’s windows shattered and flames came out, the witness checked to make sure that no one was inside.
The witness found Davis sitting on the apartment’s back porch with her head down and saying, “I did it. I did it. It was my fault,” according to the affidavit.
Davis left the scene prior to the arrival of police, but her mother arrived and told officers she had been staying with Davis at the apartment and believed her daughter could have been responsible. The redacted police report noted that the mother told officers that Davis had been “talking out of her head.”
Court records indicate that the day before the fire, Davis had been discharged from a mental health facility where she had been involuntarily committed for an evaluation, and according to published reports prior to the fire, Davis had been arrested in different counties for illegal drugs and various other offenses.
Davis was eventually located elsewhere in the apartment complex, and police took her into custody for questioning. When a detective asked what she had been up to, Davis reportedly replied, “Chillin’ like a villain,” according to court records.
She told the detective she had set the fire because she “felt like it,” court records indicate.
In January 2015, a Clarke County grand jury filed an indictment charging Davis with first-degree arson and two counts of cruelty to animals.
(Online Athens - May 2, 2017)