The second defendant in a September 2017 racing wreck in Longview that killed two teenage girls and seriously injured a woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to three charges and was sentenced to 12 years in state prison.
Davin Blain Davis, 21, of Hallsville pleaded guilty to two counts of racing causing death and one count of aggravated assault. Judge Alfonso Charles of the 124th District Court sentenced Davis to 12 years on each count to be served concurrently.
Davis and co-defendant Chad Palmer Malone, 21, of Longview were charged in the September 2017 wreck on U.S. 259 North/Eastman Road. Two 17-year-old passengers in Malone’s car died: Malone’s sister, Rylee Malone, and his fiancee, Meshebia Johnson.
Another woman, Christa Wilson of Harleton, was severely injured when she was ejected after Malone’s car hit the pickup she was driving.
Malone received the same 12-year sentence as Davis when he pleaded guilty Feb. 18 before Charles.
Davis faced up to 20 years in prison if he went to trial and was convicted, prosecutor pro tem Chris Botto said after the hearing, which lasted about 15 minutes.
“He could have gotten anything from two to 20 years, and he could have been sentenced for probation,” Botto said.
“I think it is extremely fair for the victims’ families,” Botto said. “They did not want him to be prosecuted.”
Botto, who is now in private practice, was appointed by District Attorney Tom Watson as a special prosecutor because Botto originally had been in charge of the prosecution as an assistant district attorney. Watson has said he had a conflict of interest in having been involved, before taking office at the beginning of this year, in a civil lawsuit stemming from the September 2017 crash.
Davis’ attorney, Jason Cassel, declined to comment about the sentencing.
Davis had been set to go to a jury trial July 29. He had been released July 19 from Gregg County Jail on $935,000 in bonds on the three charges and numerous other offenses.
Davis appeared in court in slacks and a long-sleeved shirt. A woman hugged him before he appeared before Charles.
Charles read the charges that Davis faced and asked him whether he understood them.
Davis answered briefly and politely.
“Do you want a jury trial?” Charles asked him.
“No,” Davis said.
Charles read brief descriptions of the offenses before sentencing Davis.
The sentencing ended a saga that started Sept. 27, 2017, when Malone and Davis were speeding in separate vehicles on U.S. 259. Data from Malone’s car showed him to be driving 109 mph two seconds before the airbags in his car deployed.
Davis told an investigator he had been driving next to Malone’s car in the outside northbound lane of Eastman Road before the crash. Davis said both drivers accelerated when approaching Hawkins Parkway to cross the intersection before the yellow traffic light turned red, according to court documents. Davis said Malone’s car began to pass him.
Longview police said Wilson was leaving the Target shopping center to head south on Eastman Road when her truck collided with Malone’s car. Her truck spun clockwise, and she was ejected.
Malone’s car veered into the southbound lanes of traffic before leaving the road and hitting a utility pole about 200 feet away.
Malone, Wilson and Johnson were not wearing safety belts, according to the Longview police report about the crash.
Malone and Davis were arrested in February 2018.