Opening statements and first witnesses in Leon Davis murder trial

Davis on trial for two execution-style murders

BARTOW, Fla. - The Leon Davis double murder trial started today in Bartow.  Davis is trial for the murders of Pravinkumar Patel and Dashrath Patel, who were gunned down execution-style, at a BP gas station in Lake Alfred in 2007.

In his opening statement, Assistant State Attorney Paul Wallace would refer to surveillance video captured that day at the Lake Alfred station.

The video shows a man firing a gunshot at a clerk inside the store, and then running to the other side of the parking lot where he encountered two more clerks outside.

Basically, Wallace would explain, shooting them execution-style, "Both Dashrath and Pravinkumar are each shot at point-blank range. There is actually a muzzle imprint. Each fired one shot into the head."

Wallace would say, that man was and is, Leon Davis.

But in his opening, Defense Attorney Robert Norgard would refute those claims, simply saying, "You could look at that video 20 times, 50 times, 100 times. There is no way of identifying that person as being Mr. Davis."

The majority of the rest of the day would be spent introducing crime scene evidence and questioning a crime scene technician.

Polk County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Tech, John Dellavalle, would talk about finding shell casings, and identify them. He wool also testify as to the wounds he saw on the victims while he was photographing the scene. Single gunshot wounds to the sides of their heads.

The most contentious part of the day would come with the questioning of Brandon Greisman by Defense Attorney Robert Norgard.

In trying to draw a connection between the gun used to shoot the two BP clerks and the gun used during the murder of two insurance agency employees in Lake Wales, that same month back in December of 2007, the state called Greisman.

Griesman claims he was shot in face by Davis as he stumbled upon the Lake Wales crime scene. Today he told the court he was 100% sure it was Davis who pulled the trigger.

But Norgard would argue that point, saying "Yet your own words two years ago were that you were 'pretty certain.'  And by your own definition, just a moment ago that you gave to me, that doesn't mean 100%. Does it?"

"I guess not," Griesman said.  "But he is the man that did it." 

The trial is expected to take as long as three weeks.

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