Where is Zachary Davis now? His appeal attempts

zachary davis

On 10th August 2012, Zachary Everett Davis packed several items into a satchel, including clothing and a toothbrush. Zachary planned to run away, but not before killing his mother, Melanie, and brother, Josh. He waited for Melanie to sleep before sneaking into her room and bludgeoning her with a sledgehammer. 

Zachary had decided that Josh would burn to death, so he doused the family game room with gasoline and whiskey and set it on fire. Thankfully, the fire alarm woke Josh before the fire got to his room. 

A Tennessee court sent Zachary to prison for a minimum of 60 years on the murder charge and an extra 20 years for the additional charges of aggravated arson and attempted first-degree murder. 

Zachary Davis is serving his prison sentence after his appeal failed

Zachary is incarcerated in a Tennessee prison where he’ll likely spend the rest of his life. The earliest he can leave prison is 71 years into his sentence, and there’s no guarantee that the parole board will grant him parole. 

Randy Lucas, Zachary’s attorney, told The Hendersonville Standard that he planned to appeal Zachary’s sentence on the grounds that the US Supreme Court outlawed mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles. Zachary was 15 years old when he murdered his mother but was tried as an adult. 

Lucas said that though Zachary was eligible for parole from the life sentence, the extra 20-year sentence effectively incarcerated him for life. “I believe that ultimately, the United States Supreme Court is going to decide that juveniles have to be given the opportunity for parole and rehabilitation,” Lucas said. 

Zachary’s lawyer appealed after Judge Dee David Gay denied his petition for a new trial. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Zachary’s appeal, with Judge Robert L. Holloway writing:

“We conclude that the trial court did not err in denying the Defendant’s motions to be declared incompetent, motion to suppress the Defendant’s statement, or the motion for mistrial and did not err in sentencing the Defendant to life plus twenty years.”

Zachary’ paternal grandmother, Gail Cron, said during the sentencing trial that the murder wouldn’t have happened had Zach received mental health treatment. “Every teacher, every guidance counselor should have to stand trial with Zach,” Gail said. “Zach is not a monster. He’s a child who made a horrible mistake.”

Zachary said he felt nothing as he bludgeoned his mother to death

Zachary’s life changed when his father died of ALS in 2007. Melanie noticed that the customarily withdrawn Zachary was deteriorating mentally, so she got him mental health assistance. During one of Zachary’s sessions with a therapist, Zachary said he could hear his father’s voice. 

Melanie pulled Zachary out of therapy way too early and moved the family to Sumner County, Tennessee. Reddit user u/innocentacquitance posted an AMA on his experience with Zachary in school. The user alleged that Zachary was ‘100%’ mentally ill. They continued:

“He was viewed as a social outcast, from what I saw nobody made fun of him. You either ignored him or you tried and tried again to connect with him which nobody ever managed to do.”

Zachary spent a lot of time on his phone, which had an app listing torture devices and another about serial killers. His notebook’s featured disturbing quotes, including ‘you can’t spell slaughter without laughter’. 

The mayhem in his head manifested outwardly when he bludgeoned his mother to death and attempted to burn his brother alive. Zachary said in a jailhouse interview that he struck Melanie 20 times because he ‘wanted to make sure she was dead’. 

Zachary said he didn’t feel anything when he killed Melanie and opined that he should have used the same weapon to kill his brother. Judge Gay said:

“The thing that bothers me is that you have shown no regrets, no remorse, in murdering your own mother at age 15. You became evil, Mr. Davis; you went to the dark side. It’s that plain and simple.”