TELLURIDE – Egnar resident Donald Jefferson Davis, 53, charged with committing “sexual crimes" against five children and one adult that range from sexual assault while aided by another to sexual assault to attempted sexual assault to enticement of a child, is being held on $310,000 bail at the San Miguel County Jail.
Most of the alleged assaults took place in Davis's Egnar home.
Davis, whose plea hearing in the 7th Judicial District Court is scheduled for Thursday, March 13, at 1:30 p.m., was, according to an Oct. 31 affidavit for arrest warrant, being investigated in at least one child sex-abuse case in 1996 in Moab. That case, however, “languished and apparently died due to the death of the investigating officer at that time.”
Affidavits filed late last year by San Miguel County Sheriff's officers suggest Davis repeated criminally predatory behavior patterns over a period of decades. “Many of Don’s victims report being abused at either knife- or gunpoint,” according to one of three affidavits for arrest warrants filed between Oct. 31 and Dec. 6 of last year, “and all have been threatened with bodily injury or death to themselves or family members if they ever talked about the abuse.”
One investigating officer reported “knowledge of victims that ranged in age from 4 years old to over 30 years old at the time they were assaulted by Don Davis,” and quoted one interviewee, who said, “there is a history of more than forty years of child abuse” by Davis.
As a long-distance truck driver, Davis traveled to Minnesota, Utah, Montana and Washington states, as well, and victims' allegations of sexual abuse in those states are now coming to light.
Charges Filed in Nine-Year-Old Case
According to the Dec. 6 affidavit, charging Davis with “Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust (under 15),” complainants “Summer Davis, Kendra Davis, Kathy Davis (Holman) and John Holman,” all presumably related to Don Davis, told officers they “believed [name redacted] had been assaulted as a young [gender redacted] by Don Davis,” nine years ago.
The family is said to have been reluctant to press sexual-assault charges against Davis while his mother, Egnar resident Beverly Jane Knuckles Reed, was still alive; Reed died in June 2013.
Davis faces a Class 3 Felony Sexual Assault charge in the nine-year-old case of assault on a child living in Davis’s home “at 0677 K8 in Egnar,” where the child and Davis are alleged to have “had sexual intercourse together” while “Beverly Reed…had gone to Cortez to play bingo.”
According to the Oct. 31 affidavit, Davis’s older sister “Kathy stated she was aware of sexual abuse perpetrated by Don,” and “named several potential victims.”
‘More Than 40 Years of Child Abuse’
In the Oct. 31 affidavit concerning three other criminal cases involving children, allegedly committed in Egnar “on or between late 2006 and spring of 2010, by Donald Jefferson Davis,” one witness “stated that there is a history of more than forty years of child abuse by… Don Davis.” One of those cases involves a child who told officers, “My parents left me in his care,” referring to Davis, “and he just mistreated me like crap.” Davis referred to the child, according to the report, as “a piece of shit,” “princess,” “little girl” and other things [gender redacted] could not remember," and tried to get the child "to drink Captain Morgan Rum or other alcoholic beverages.” During the child's tenancy in his home, Davis made repeated sexual overtures, saying, “If you ever tell anyone, no-one will ever see you again.”
That child, now an adult, now believes, according to the Oct. 31 affidavit, that “Don may have ‘gotten me,’” on one occasion, upon being given by Davis “a pill of some kind to help with the pain” from a toothache, and was "knocked...out."
The victim reported "that it was daylight out" when the pill was swallowed, and "very dark when [the victim] awoke," lying beneath a shirtless Davis, who was "holding a pair of pliers" with which he "said that he was trying to pull" the sore tooth.
In another incident, sometime between 2010 and 2011, another child, who worked at Davis’s dog kennel on K8 road, recounted repeated sexual advances by his employer, including removing the child’s “shorts,” which led the child to run “to the bedroom,” close the door and slide “heavy objects in front of it to keep Don out.” The child remained barricaded in the bedroom, “while Don stood outside the door” and “kept asking, ‘You’re not going to tell anyone, are you?’”
Davis and Son Charged in 2012 Rape
In the course of investigating Davis’s alleged “sexual crimes against children,” one of two officers on the case “learned of a 2012 case” in which Davis and his son, Keyvin Snowburger, 31, reportedly assaulted a Cortez resident “at the Don Davis residence in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2012.” (Snowburger, 31, died on March 27 of that year, in a one-car rollover near Blanding, Utah.)
The father-son duo met the victim in a Cortez bar, and “made arrangements to go to a Dove Creek bar,” where the victim accepted Snowburger’s offer of “the use of ‘the couch or his bed, whichever [gender redacted] wanted,’” and the three left the bar “together in an SUV-type vehicle.”
At Davis’s house, the inebriated victim was repeatedly raped, by both men, with Snowburger “holding a rifle or shotgun and he worked the action of the weapon while Don continued the assault.”
The terrified victim told officers, “I was trying to cooperate, because I knew I was in the middle of nowhere, not really sure where exactly, and they had a gun.’” In the course of the night, the victim “chose to stay in Keyvin’s room because [gender redacted] considered him ‘the lesser of two evils,’ and said [gender redacted] did not want to fall prey again to Don.”
The next morning, Snowburger drove the victim back to Cortez, giving her "two $20 bills” and saying she “should get a morning-after pill” with the cash.
After the Dec. 31-Jan. 1 incident, the “alleged victim” chose “not to move forward” with the case, due to “perceived shame and embarrassment,” according to a Nov. 12 affidavit.
But upon hearing she “was not the only alleged victim of Don Davis,” she changed her mind, and is now pressing charges.
If Davis enters a not guilty plea at the March 13 hearing, the case heads to a jury trial, with District Judge Mary Deganhart presiding; Assistant District Attorney Keri Yoder will prosecute the case, with public defender Valerie Cole defending Davis. The plea hearing is open to the public, at the judge’s discretion.
– With additional reporting by Samuel Adams