By Joe Klaas
Many have fantasies of riches, travel, or food. Most fantasize sex. Richard Allen Davis fantasizes sex-crimes.
Unfortunately, his fantasies are dress rehearsals for sex-motivated violence inflicted on real people, the last of whom was Polly Klaas.
For two days, witnesses to previous bondage, domination, and mayhem testified about how Davis listened to "voices" that instructed him. A voice that tells him the next woman he kidnaps "wants to know how it feels to be raped". Owners of a house he breaks into "want to be tied up". When he beats a sleeping woman with a poker until, "surprised she wasn't dead", he felt "we both got something out of it".
The first victim to testify Wednesday in the Polly Klaas kidnap-rape-murder trial was Frances Mays. At knife-point, Davis forced her at into her Volkswagen bug in a Hayward, California transit-station parking lot while it was still daylight on September 24, 1976.
"I won't hurt you," he promised as he drove to a lonely cement-pipe storage lot. He unzipped his pants, shoved her head down and said, "You know what I want you to do". She grabbed his knife by the blade, jumped out and frantically flagged down a highway patrol officer on his way to work. He chased and arrested Davis.
Davis told a psychiatrist that a voice told him a woman "wanted to know how it felt to be raped". He entered the station "to see who she was", and followed the victim to her car to "give her what she wanted". A paper bag police believe carried the knife was found in the back seat.
Dr. George Ponomares, a court appointed psychiatrist interviewed Davis on April 13, 1976 about a series of eerily similar crimes. "Davis told me that he heard the voice of a woman (Mays) wanting to be raped", Ponomares testified. "He said the women was only protesting for the sake of appearances".
California highway patrol officer Harold Wentz reported that the bag Davis tossed into the Volkswagen back seat contained a four-foot-length of sturdy twine.
After three o'clock on the morning of December 17, 1976 Marjorie Mitchell went to sleep in Napa, California. Her 13 year old daughter slept down the hall. The mother awoke with a start, wondering why her head hurt. She saw Davis above her in the dark. He beat her five times in the head with a fireplace poker. She screamed. Bathed in blood, she went to find her daughter, saw Davis down the hallway, and headed towards him.
"I have no idea why", she testified. "I was in a daze".
Davis turned and went out the front door. In the family room where he had picked up the poker, police found a knotted sweat sock with two bars of soap tied into it's toe. Her purse was untouched beside the bed.
Later, after his arrest for another crime in LaHonda, California, Davis told Napa police detective D.B. Miller that he broke into the Mitchell house to steal her car keys. Davis forgot them after he beat her with the poker, went back to get them, and "was a little surprised she was still alive. I beat her pretty good". He thought she enjoyed the beating. It required 32 stitches. "I hit her twice", he minimized. "It felt good. I have been under tension. I think we both got something out of it".
Out of the jury's earshot Miller told me soap stuffed and tied into a sock is a commonly used weapon in jails and prisons. "They can do a lot of damage when used like a billy club".
Three nights later at midnight, Davis broke into a parked Cadillac outside a Napa restaurant, waited in the bushes and climbed in beside Hazel Frost as she was turning her ignition key. She wore a formal gown following a Christmas party.
"I heard a woman's voice saying, 'I wondered what it would feel like to be assaulted". Davis later told Dr. Ponomares. "I broke into the dog pound behind the restaurant and found a gun".
He shoved the two-barreled shotgun into Frost's neck, promised not to hurt her, and told her to drive him to Santa Rosa.
"He ordered me to back into the darkness behind the building", she testified. "His excuse was he wanted to make a phone call. He shut off the lights and pulled a piece of white material from his pocket. I knew he was going to kill me, so I kicked open the door and rolled out onto the pavement. There was a gun loaded with bird-shot under the front seat. I grabbed it and fired five times as he ran past the animal shelter".
Davis told Detective Miller that he hid for three days in a tarp-covered fishing boat on a trailer outside the home of Josephine Krieger in LaHonda. When she and a friend left, Davis entered the house, stole items of clothing, jewelry and a coin collection, then waited inside for Mrs. Krieger to return.
"I thought people wanted to be tied up", he told Dr. Ponomares.
"I waited inside for them so I could get their car keys", he told Detective Miller at the San Mateo County jail. It was the same motive claimed for striking the sleeping woman again and again with a poker four nights earlier in Napa.
He waited in the garage and sharpened a butcher knife and a large bowie knife with a file. He had the gun, but no shells. "When they came in, I pulled the power switch to get them to come outside through the garage. They left by the front door and crossed to another house. Too many came back". He ran out the back door and was arrested hiding behind a bush holding the gun under him against the ground.
Too much like 17 years later in Petaluma -- ropes, pieces of cloth, knots, binding tape, knives, motives offered other than love of sex-violence against helpless females, and always assurances that "I won't hurt you".
God! How we clung to those words uttered again as he hauled Polly off at knife-point, gagged with wrists held close to her neck by loops knotted from material brought to tie over her pretty head.
"I won't hurt you". How desperately we believed those words heard by her bound and gagged slumber party friends. "I won't hurt you".
We believed it. It offered the only chance we would find Polly alive.
Davis denied us that. He probably thought we would get the same kind of kick he got when he strangled her on Pythian Road.
It was his dream crime come true.
KlaasKids Foundation P.O. Box 925, Sausalito, CA 94966
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