MT. PLEASANT (WWJ) – A Central Michigan University student charged with murdering his parents at school has been arraigned via video from his hospital bed. Bond was set at $1.25 million.
Wearing a hospital gown and hooked up to an IV, James Eric Davis, Jr. mumbled and confused the judge at times when he was asked if he understood the charges: two counts of open murder and one count of felony firearm.
When Isabella County Judge Paul Chamberlain then asked the 19-year old if he wanted to keep his court appointed attorney, the defendant said no, and then yes.
“Alright, what I think that I would like to do in light of the mixed reposes there, Mr. Blanchard (the lawyer), is continue your representation for the time being, and we’ll give you an opportunity to withdraw after you’ve had some time to privately consult with the defendant,” Chamberlain said.
The prosecutor had argued unsuccessfully to maintain a $3 million bond, contending that Davis is a flight risk.
Police found and arrested Davis early Saturday morning, several hours after he allegedly shot his parents, James and Diva Davis, in his dorm room at CMU’s Campbell Hall — prompting a lockdown of CMU buildings, Mount Pleasant schools and public buildings. Students and staff were instructed to shelter in place for several hours Friday, before police evacuated the campus.
Police told reporters Davis, Jr, acted erratically the day before he shootings, telling a campus police officer that someone was out to kill him. He was admitted to a local hospital for what police believed was a drug-related issue, then released to his parents who took him back to his dorm to pack up for spring break.
Investigators have said the shooter’s roommate witnessed the murders, and that Davis, Jr. used a gun belonging to his father, who works as a police officer in Illinois.
Davis has been hospitalized with hypothermia since he was apprehended. He will remain at the hospital under police guard until he is discharged and moved to the Isabella County Jail. [More on this story]