Exoneree Jeramie Davis

At a Glance

  • Innocent Years Served: 6 Years
  • Sentence: Life Without Parole
  • Wrongful Conviction: First-Degree Murder
  • Year: 2007
  • Jurisdiction: Spokane County
  • Released: 2013
  • Exonerated: 2013
  • Cost of Wrongful Incarceration*: $233,592
  • Lost Wages**: $307,632

About Jeramie

In 2008, Jeramie Davis was 36 years old and living in Spokane.

The Investigation

In the early morning hours of June 18, 2007, 36-year-old Jeramie Davis and his sister called police from the Best Buy Adult Entertainment store to report finding the store’s owner, 74-year-old John Allen, lying on the floor with his head bashed in with a baseball bat.

Police quickly focused on Jeramie, a janitor, who had a lengthy criminal record involving non-violent offenses. Jeramie admitted he had been to the store before midnight on June 17, and found Allen lying on the floor. Jeramie explained that he thought Allen was drunk and had passed out. He admitted he took about $200 in cash as well as videos and other items, but denied that he struck Allen with the bat, which was found under Allen’s body.

Jeramie was arrested and charged with first degree murder, burglary, and trafficking in stolen property. While he maintained he was innocent of the murder, he admitted that he had stolen property from the store.

By the time of Jeramie’s trial in February 2008, DNA tests had been completed on the baseball bat, revealing the profile of an unknown person. Jeramie’s DNA was not on the bat and police could not find his fingerprints in the store.

A prostitute who was provided cash benefits by police in exchange for her cooperation testified that on the night of the crime, Jeramie was counting a wad of cash and said that he had just “hit a lick,” a street term she said referred to a robbery.

On February 13, 2008, a jury convicted Davis and he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Post-Conviction and Exoneration

In 2011, a Spokane police detective received a call from the crime lab saying they were going to send the biological evidence in the case back to the evidence room. The detective, curious about the DNA profile that had not been linked to anyone, requested that the lab run the profile through the Washington State database of DNA profiles of convicted offenders.

In March 2011, the crime lab reported that the profile had matched Julio Davila, who was in prison and had a lengthy record of felony convictions. Detectives obtained a new DNA sample from Davila and the match was confirmed. Palm prints and fingerprints found in the store — which had not been linked to anyone at the time of the murder — were matched to Davila as well.

Davila was charged with the murder of Allen and, in July 2012, he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Jeramie had previously written to Washington Innocence Project seeking help. After the DNA was linked to Davila, Jeramie’s family alerted Washington Innocence Project attorneys. Two weeks after Davila was convicted, a judge granted that motion and set aside Jeramie’s conviction.

The prosecution said it would retry Jeramie under a new theory — that both men were involved in the murder and that Davila swung the bat. The state struck a deal with a jailhouse informant in an effort to support this theory. Spokane attorney Kevin Curtis partnered with Washington Innocence Project and prepared for Jeramie’s retrial. After a lengthy police investigation, no evidence could be found that Jeramie and Davila even knew each other, let alone committed a murder together.

On April 11, 2013, the prosecution dismissed Jeramie’s murder charge. He pled guilty to a charge of second-degree robbery for taking the items from the store while Allen was unconscious. He was sentenced to time served for the robbery, and released.

Exonerees James and Jeramie

*Based on the average annual per-person incarceration costs in Washington State as of May 2019. Does not include the financial cost of trial, appeals, community supervision, retrial, or related civil proceedings.
**Based on the average salary by age https://smartasset.com/retirement/the-average-salary-by-age; not including retirement or social security contributions.