Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Killing of Polly Klaas

Polly's Last Night, the End

Again, Davis' account of these events must be viewed with skepticism.  It strains credulity that Polly would wait passively in the brush.  Of course, it is not impossible that the child was paralyzed by terror, but neither is it likely that her kidnapper would simply bank on it.  Police believe that Polly may have been alive at the time of the trespassing. But if Polly was alive, police believe she was bound and gagged.  His story of her being asleep also sounds far-fetched although she may have fainted from terror.  The statement he attributes to her, "I thought you had left me," seemingly indicating that Polly welcomed his return, is likely a figment of the same imagination that believed voices told him one woman wanted to be raped and another to be clobbered on the head brutally.

Davis realized he was in a jam, he said, but could not think of a good way out of it.  Kidnapping would send him back to the penitentiary.  So he decided the only thing he could do was kill "the broad" in his car.  Of course, this logic completely overlooks the fact that there were two other living witnesses to the kidnapping.  The terminology used to describe his victim, a girl not yet in her teen years, shows that, as many criminals of the sort are prone to do, he had blurred the line between a child and a woman.

Perhaps Davis was not completely aware of the motivation for his crime.  Or  perhaps he  was reluctant to share his ugly feelings with Meese.

Had he molested or raped the girl or attempted one or the other before killing her?  He denied it but his denials were less than ringing.  "I don't think so," was his first response to the question.  Asked again, he replied, "Well, as much as I can remember, I don't think that I did."  Then he became more definite and swore, "On my skin, I didn't do nothing to her."

However, Polly's corpse was found with her miniskirt pulled up and her legs spread.  Her body had been exposed to the elements for two months and was too decomposed to prove anything definitive about sexual assault.  There also was an unused, unrolled condom out of its packet lying nearby.  But it is difficult to assess this evidence.  Was Davis planning to use it to prevent semen from lodging in her body to eliminate any DNA trail of his rape?  It's unlikely that he thought he was at risk of contracting some sexually transmitted disease from a 12-year-old.

It is also possible, as his defense at trial suggested, that Davis did not leave the condom and that it had no connection to the case.

Davis stated that he strangled her from behind, with a piece of cloth.  The exact means of her death could not be definitively established, but his description was consistent with the evidence.


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