The Macomb Daily
Murder defendants face jury deliberations
An assistant Macomb County prosecutor Tuesday asked a jury to convict two men of murdering a pair of women in Clinton Township by “connecting the dots” amid a myriad of circumstantial evidence.
Jurors heard closing arguments Tuesday and began deliberating the first-degree murder cases against Dajuan Davenport, 22, and Darrell S. Banks, 21, for the January 2021 shooting deaths of Dazhane Holloway, 19, and Dionna Davis, 18, outside at Knottingham Apartments as the victims unloaded groceries from a car.
Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Servitto asked jurors for convictions based on the connection of many pieces of evidence against the defendants.
“The evidence shows you a connection of dots,” Assistant Macomb Prosecutor Anthony Servitto told jurors. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a road map connecting the dots.”
The jury is set to resume deliberations Wednesday morning.
The trial began last Wednesday in front of Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Julie Gatti.
The defendants are accused of conducting a “hit” on the women by waiting for over 30 minutes Jan. 22, 2021 in a parked stolen Dodge Hellcat Charger before opening fire on them at about 6:37 p.m. They fired at least 40 shots form two guns, with Davenport’s .45-caliber handgun providing the “kill shots,” Servitto said, and Banks actually firing more shots from an AR15. Davis, who was shot five times in her back and thigh while running from the victims’ car toward the apartment building door and Holloway was struck once in the face, with the bullet traveling to her chest as she crouched behind an open car door, Servitto said.
An 18-month-old child was found unharmed in the vehicle, and a 1-year-old child was found inside unharmed.
The defendants fled the scene at Wellington Crescent east of Gratiot just south of Mount Clemens in a stolen Hellcat Dodge Charger driven by Davenport. A police officer soon spotted the vehicle, and a chase ensued with speeds exceeding 130 mph and ending with the Charger crashing on Eight Mile Road near Gratiot Avenue.
Police found a “very unique” olive-green colored .45-caliber handgun from the floorboard of the Charger near Davenport and the AR15 inside the vehicle, Servitto said. A ballistics expert testified bullets from the scene matched it.
Police found Davenport displaying a green gun in a photograph on Davis’ phone.
The high speed of the chase is highlighted by the fact that only 11 minutes elapsed from the shooting to when the Charger crashed, while Google maps provided the route should have taken 21 minutes, Servitto noted.
Bullet casings from the scene show the patterns of Davenport and Banks’ paths as they ran toward the victim firing shots, Servitto said. He said Banks exited the vehicle first, firing seven shots ahead of his co-defendant before Davenport’s first of 16 shots was errant and struck Banks in his rear hip, putting a hole in his wallet.
Witness Hannah Archer, who lived in the apartments, testified she heard the gunshots, went to her window seconds later and saw two black males, one wearing yellow clothing, enter a dark car and speed away. Banks was wearing a yellow hoodie when found at the crash.
Attorneys for Davenport and Banks disputed the prosecution’s version of events, contending their clients also were intended victims of shooters.
Davenport took the stand in his defense and testified he was fleeing other shooters. Davenport’s attorney, Ryan Machasic, said his client “panicked.”
“He heard those shots and he panicked,” Machasic told jurors. “He’s somebody who panicked and got out of there as fast as he could.”
“They are all victims,” added Banks’ attorney Craig Tanks, noting both Davis and Banks were shot “in the posterior” of their bodies. “They all get shot in the same way.”
The attorneys argued Servitto and Assistant Macomb Prosecutor Jurij Fedorak failed to prove the defendants are guilty.
“It is full of speculation,” Machasic said. “It is full of assumption. It is lacking in critical evidence. They’ve got a case based on tunnel vision. They had a theory early on” and stuck with it.
Tank noted the prosecution failed to present any eyewitnesses to the shooting or anyone who could identify the suspects despite it occurring at a well-populated apartment complex at around 6:30 p.m. on a Friday.
“They (prosecutors) couldn’t produce one person that knew what happened out there that day,” Tank said. “The case is where it’s at when we started; it is unproven.”
Two other area residents testified they heard shots from two guns but didn’t see the shooting.
The defendants’ alleged motivation was not revealed but does not have to be proven to warrant a guilty verdict.
After closing arguments, Tank’s request for a mistrial based on Servitto’s use of the word “jig,” in the phrase, “The jig is up,” during his closing argument was denied by Gatti.
Tank claimed the phrase contains racial connotations that precludes his client from receiving a fair trial.
His claim was disputed by Servitto and Fedorak.
“It’s a phrase I’ve heard probably my whole life,” Gatti said, “and I don’t think I’ve ever given it any type of connotation as you suggested, Mr. Tank.”
Servitto used the phrase to describe Davenport’s reason for fleeing police when he saw a patrol car’s overhead lights and siren activated.
The defendants remain in custody in lieu of $1 million bonds.