Brothers sentenced in assault on a bus

Man agrees to life in prison

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison in exchange for reducing the charges against his brother in a case involving a brutal assault.

The two were sentenced Tuesday in Clallam County Superior Court for beating a 68-year-old Neah Bay man Sept. 10, causing injuries he is still nursing.

Steven Rene Davis, 39, agreed to the life sentence, pleading guilty to the original charges filed against him of first-degree robbery-deliberate cruelty and accomplice to second-degree assault to spare his younger sibling a longer sentence.

Steven Davis pleaded guilty to a third-strike felony as a persistent offender, leading to his mandatory life sentence without parole in exchange for Channing Davis’ pleading guilty to accomplice to second-degree assault and receiving a 43-month sentence.

A first-degree accomplice to robbery charge against Channing Davis, 37, was dropped, but a strike was added to his criminal record.

The Port Angeles residents’ late afternoon attack on the Army veteran occurred on a Clallam Transit bus 20 minutes after the driver departed from Port Angeles, according to a probable cause statement.

The assault left the victim with chronic pain, dizziness and exhaustion, the Makah tribal member said in a statement Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steve Johnson read to Judge Lauren Erickson.

The brothers, also Makah tribal members, punched and kicked the man after he told them to “hold the noise down,” according to the vehicle’s video-audio surveillance system.

The video shows the brothers hitting the man 23 times, mostly to the head, before Steven Davis throws him to the floor by the neck. Channing Davis repeatedly steps on him before Steven Davis picks up the man’s backpack. Both exited the bus on East Beach Road, 18 miles west of Port Angeles, according to the probable cause statement.

The man was treated at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles.

Parker said in a victim-impact statement read by Johnson that now he can barely walk a few blocks; he said that, before the attack, he could walk 25 miles in one trek.

He said he suffers from dizzy spells, nausea and migraine headaches and purchased a security camera to assuage his jumpiness.

“Day to day, thinking about what I want to do and executing it are night and day in comparison,” he said.

“My hope is that nobody will ever have to deal with this while just trying to get to their destination.”

He said the Davises should never be allowed to use Clallam Transit again.

As part of his sentence, Channing Davis cannot use Clallam Transit for 10 years.

The victim’s niece, a caretaker of her uncle, said in her victim statement, read by Johnson, that he was known for his long walks and toughness.

“Now he can’t help but groan out in pain, especially after the long trips to doctor appointments,” she said.

“Channing and Steven being the ones that did this makes for an even harder blow.”

She had been Channing Davis’ friend, she said. His 5-year-old child and the child’s mother were on the bus.

“Being Makah is about caring for our elders, making sure their needs are met, helping in any way we can,” the niece said.

“It’s revolting that this happened at the hands of Makah boys to a Makah,” she said.

“I understand that there may have been substances involved, but that should never, ever be an excuse to physically turn on an elder, no matter what they said or did,” she said.

“Every court date, they’ve been acting like this has all been a joke to them, and it’s disgusting.

“This is not something to be proud of. Our family members have talked to your mother, and it’s sickening that she must be the one to apologize for two grown men.”

Steven Davis’ criminal history includes two assault convictions and a conviction for attempted first-degree murder, which he committed when he was 16. He was sentenced to nearly 20 years for that and on a stolen firearms charge.

Slightly more than a year after his release, he was incarcerated for third-degree assault on a Saar’s grocery store employee and was released in May.

Four months later, he robbed and assaulted Parker.

“These convictions demonstrate that twenty years of incarceration had no rehabilitative effect on Steven Davis and that the only appropriate path forward to protect the public is incarcerating him for the remainder of his life,” Johnson said in the sentencing recommendation followed by Erickson.

“The three strikes law is really in effect, I think, for these kind of cases, situations where people, they have these violent outbursts and, in order to protect society, these are the most appropriate resolutions,” Johnson told Erickson on Tuesday.

“It also takes into account that this is a package deal. Mr. Davis is essentially looking out for family, and I understand that.

“Reducing the charge for Mr. Channing Davis, dismissing Count 1, the state feels is appropriate given that Mr. Steven Davis is taking responsibility, pleading guilty to a life without possibility of parole sentence. That can’t be easy for him.”

Both men declined to give statements before Erickson sentenced them; Steven Davis waited several seconds before responding no.

Channing Davis’ seven prior convictions include three for custodial assault and a first-degree assault as a juvenile.

He now has a second strike under sentencing laws “which, unlike his brother, will hopefully provide an adequate deterrent for committing similar, violent offense in the future,” Johnson said.

Channing Davis was represented by Port Angeles lawyer Charles Commeree.

“It does hurt Mr. Davis to see his brother agree that he is going to be sentenced to life without parole,” he said.

Stan Myers of Port Angeles, representing Steven Davis, said it was solely his client’s decision to plead guilty knowing he would serve life in prison if the first-degree robbery charge was dropped against his brother.

“It’s doing something I never thought I would be doing, that is, pleading someone out on a three-strikes case,” said Myers, a lawyer for 16 years.

Erickson had a warning for Channing Davis.

“This was a brazen and unwarranted and really horrific crime, and, Mr. Davis, all I’ll say is, you now have a strike offense, so you’re going to be on your way to being your brother if you don’t turn it around.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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