Family speaks out after guilty verdict in decapitation trial of Wichita grandmother
A Sedgwick County jury found Rachael Hilyard guilty of first-degree premeditated murder in the 2017 decapitation and death of Micki Davis.
Moments after the verdict was handed down, Davis' family let out sighs of relief.
Hilyard testified on Wednesday that voices in her head told her to murder the 63-year-old grandmother on April 9, 2017.
Davis' son Jeremy Rush said his mother was the family's backbone and laid the foundation for them to move beyond the tragedy. He said he believed the bravery of his now 11-year-old nephew assisted with Hilyard being charged to the highest degree of murder. The boy, who was nine at the time, and was with Davis the day of the murder. He also called 911 during the disturbance which turned deadly.
"Actually, he was the heat of the case. He knew exactly what happened. He was a very smart and brave young man. Love him to death," said Rush.
Brigitta Christner, the boy's maternal grandmother said despite the gravity of the case, he's been able to remain a happy child.
"He's had a lot of support, family support. He seems very happy, plays in the orchestra. He's doing really good," Christner said.
Rush said despite the justice served, he still lost his mom.
"This is justice for Micki. We might've won this battle, but we lost the whole war because our mom is not here, and she should be here," he said.
Hilyard is set to be back in court for sentencing on March 27. She faces life in prison.
Charged with killing and decapitating a Wichita grandmother in April 2017, Rachael Hilyar took the stand in her own defense Wednesday in Sedgwick County District Court.
Hilyard is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Micki Davis at a south Wichita home. Hilyard the the ex-girlfriend of Davis' son, who was in prison at the time of the murder nearly three years ago.
Davis' family was in the courtroom Wednesday on the second day of Hilyard's trial. Family members left the courtroom while the state showed photos from the crime scene to the jury.
Hilyard took the stand in her own defense Wednesday afternoon. Hilyard began her testimony saying the day Davis died wasn't the first time she'd met the 63-year-old grandmother.
She says Davis and Davis' 9-year-old grandson came to her home to get items belonging to Davis' son. Hilyard said there was a confrontation over a painting in the laundry room.
"...Then wrestled our way to the garage," Hilyard testified.
She says the fight stopped when Davis was on the ground, not moving. She says she didn't check to see if Davis was breathing because of "voices in her head," and what she described as "an app in (her) own eyes."
Hilyard said she then went to see where Davis' grandson went. She found him inside the truck parked outside. Standing outside the truck, Hilyard said she was talking with the boy when the voices in her head came back, telling her, "you don't have much time." That's when she says she went back into the garage where Davis was unconscious.
"The things told me I didn't have much time and I had to get her head away from her body so her soul get get free, so her soul could get out and go to heaven," Hilyard testified.
Hilyard says she then took Davis' severed head to the kitchen sink and left it there. She says she then went into the bathroom. This is where responding officers found her and arrested her.
Thursday, the case will go to trial.
Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday morning in the trial of a woman accused of killing a Wichita grandmother in April of 2017.
Rachael Hilyard is charged with first-degree murder in the decapitation death of 63-year-old Micki Davis.
A judge and jury saw surveillance video from one of Hilyard's neighbors. It showed Davis and her nine-year-old grandson arrive at Hilyard's home. Hilyard dated Davis' son and Davis went to Hilyard's home with her grandson to get some of her son's belongings.
Then, they heard the boy's call to 911.
Hilyard's defense argued that the boy never said Hilyard had a weapon in the disturbance involving her and his grandmother.
A neighbor and responding Wichita police officer took the stand and testified that the boy told them Hilyard was beating up his grandmother. Footage from the officer's body camera was also shown.
The boy says Hilyard attacked his grandmother when they were grabbing items at the home.
Davis' family was in court for the trial and called the boy a hero for making the 911 call and running to a neighbor's home to ask for help.
When police arrived at the scene, they found Davis decapitated.
In court Tuesday, Wichita Police Officer Brad Crouch recalled the moment officers found Hilyard hiding in the bathroom of her home.
He says Hilyard immediately complied to commands to show her hands.
In Sedgwick County District court Monday, jury selection begin, marking the start of the trial for Rachael Hilyard,
Prosecutors charged Hilyard with first-degree murder in the death of Davis who was found dead inside a home near Rita and Elizabeth.
Hilyard underwent several mental evaluations before last summer when a judge ruled her competent to stand trial.
Some family members of Micki Davis burst into tears... Hilyard shows no emotion. #kwch12— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
Jury finds the defendant, Rachael Hilyard, guilty of first degree murder #kwch12— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
Everyone, including Rachael Hilyard, wait for the jury to come back in the courtroom to read their verdict. #kwch12 pic.twitter.com/RWgdk1PRfO— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
#UPDATE VERDICT IS IN. Davis’ family fills the courtroom again. Jury will be here soon. #kwch12— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
#UPDATE Jury asks if they can have Rachael Hilyard’s testimony from yesterday... Judge decides two court staff members will do a read back of her testimony. #kwch12— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
Jury goes back to deliberation room... I’ll have updates as soon as something is decided. Keep an eye out for updates on @KWCH12 twitter and Facebook and our KWCH12 App. #kwch12— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
Hilyard had her head down during most of the closing arguments... she shook her head no a couple of times when the state suggested she knew what she was doing. #kwch12— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
“Goes back to get another knife... locks all doors and shuts blinds... that is premeditation. Find her guilty of all of the bad choices and decisions she made. First degree premeditated murder, that is my request.” -District Attorney Marc Bennett #kwch12— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
State comes back saying Hilyard “chose to attack... chose to punch... chose to put the garage door down... go back inside and get a knife... get on top of a defenseless woman... chose to apply the knife to Davis’ throat... at some point knife breaks...” #kwch12— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
Defense begins closing argument with statement from Hilyard “I needed to remove her head so she could go to heaven.” Then says Davis had no defense wounds, she must’ve been unconscious. Ends it with “my client killed Davis... but with no premeditation.” pic.twitter.com/nWv9hUPuY1— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
District Attorney Marc Bennett begins state’s closing argument. Starts with verbatim of the 911 call made by the 9-year-old grandson of Micki Davis. Now describing the charges and giving facts of the case. #kwch12 pic.twitter.com/mbpWBwxrMu— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
Judge Brown is reading the jury instructions... optional charges for the jury to consider are:— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020
-murder in the 1st degree
-murder in the 2nd degree intentional
-murder in the 2nd degree reckless
-not guilty #kwch12
Back in court today for day 3 of Rachael Hilyard’s trial... we ended yesterday after Hilyard took the stand in her own defense. Said she murdered Micki Davis because voices in her head told her “she didn’t have much time.” She could learn her fate today. #kwch12 pic.twitter.com/Xk829UUhZ8— Hailey Tucker (@KWCHHailey) February 6, 2020