Jury finds Blackfoot woman guilty of murder
BLACKFOOT — The jury in the Melonie Smith murder trial returned Saturday morning with a guilty verdict in the charge of first degree murder.
The trial was sent to the jury Friday around 7:30 p.m. Attorneys in the case gave their closing arguments after the only witness to testify for the defense, Smith herself, took the stand. Smith was charged with fatally shooting David Lee Davis on Feb. 10 after officers discovered Davis’ body in Smith’s kitchen.
Earlier in the day Kevin Day, a friend of Smith’s, testified that Smith came to the home of Kelly Black, where he was staying at the time, and asked him for help. He told jurors that he loaned Smith money to purchase wasp repellant to make fake methamphetamines and sell to people.
“She said she could spray it on a screen between two car batteries and make what looks like meth,” Day said.
When asked if it worked like methamphetamines, Day said, “No. I have tried it and nothing happened.”
Day testified that after purchasing the wasp spray, Smith transferred her .22 handgun from her Suburban to the Ford Escape he was driving. Smith left her Suburban in the Chubbuck Walmart parking lot and rode with Day to her home in Pingree.
Day testified that shortly after arriving at Smith’s home, Davis pulled into the driveway and that is when he shot him in the legs. He told the jurors that Davis had been making threats toward him for weeks. He also testified that when Davis arrived at Smith’s home, he exited the white car, yelled Day’s name and began to approach him. Day then fired two shots into Davis’s legs.
“I was protecting myself,” Day said. “He had been threatening me and I knew he often carried a knife, hatchet or firearm.”
Day said Smith came out of the house and was yelling. hHe handed her the gun and got his dog and left the scene.
Day also testified that he went back to Black’s house and told him what he had done. Later, Black also testified he heard Smith tell Day she “finished what he started.” Day and Black agreed to report the murder to law enforcement in Bingham County.
On cross examination, Defense Attorney Jim Archibald asked, “Why are you pleading guilty if it was self-defense?”
Day answered, “I’m not prepared to take a lifetime gamble.”
Archibald asked Day if he was glad Davis was dead. Day answered saying, “I’m sorry the man lost his life. I didn’t want to see anyone die.”
Guy Lopez also testified Friday that Smith called him and asked for help. When asked how he knew Smith, Lopez answered, “She slung a lot of dope (methamphetamine). She was my supplier.”
He went on to tell the jurors that on Feb. 11, Smith picked him up at his home and on the ride out to her house she told him she killed Davis.
“She said I killed him; I blew his f—— head off,” Lopez testified.
Lopez also testified that when he arrived at Smith’s home, she told him the body was in the kitchen and asked if he wanted to see it.
“I said, ‘Give me a minute,’ and slammed back a beer,” Lopez said. “He (Davis) was laying on plastic. She had a bad shoulder and needed help rolling him.”
Carlos Frank Gonzalez also testified that Smith asked him for help to get rid of a dead body.
After the prosecution rested its case Friday, Smith was the only witness called in her defense. She explained to the jury how she met Davis and that while she didn’t consider him a friend, she also wouldn’t say he was an enemy.
“I had a problem with him in the past but it wasn’t so much with him but with his friends,” Smith said.
Smith recounted the events that to lead up to the shooting of Davis.
She explained that they had met at the Shoshone-Bannock Casino in Fort Hall early that morning. When she and Day arrived at her home, Smith said she went into the house to check on her mother, whom she had been taking care of. While visiting with her mother, she heard gun shots outside.
“I ran outside and David was hopping from one foot to the other,” Smith said. “I went in the house and got crutches and helped him in the house. I heard tobacco would stop the bleeding, so I put it in the wounds and wrapped his legs.”
She also said she was going to take him to the hospital, but he asked her to give him five minutes.
“I laid my head down, then I heard a gunshot I looked up and his head bounced and his mouth dropped. Then I heard this terrible laugh,” Smith said.
When asked who shot Davis, Smith said, “Kevin Day. Then he left.”
Archibald asked her what she did next.
“A bunch of dope,” Smith replied. “I grabbed a needle and shot a bunch of dope. I haven’t shot up in 10 years.”
She testified that she later called Lopez and he came out to help her with the body.
On cross-examination, the jury learned that Smith had left the body lying on the couch and went into town to purchase more wasp repellent. She was asked to explain why she didn’t go to the police.
“I had five pounds of meth at my house,” Smith said. “I didn’t want the police to find it.”
A sentencing hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18.
“We are ecstatic,” said Kelli Mooney, Davis’s aunt, when asked how they felt about the conviction.
“We couldn’t have asked for any better. It doesn’t bring David back but it gives him a little justice, and it lets other people know they can’t get away with it (murder). In court David was painted as a drug addict and thief. He was a good boy that got caught up in a bad world he couldn’t get out of and she took away his chance to get out.”