Man Convicted of Assault Sentenced to Life Without Parole Under Three-Strikes Law


A man who gave his girlfriend life-threatening injuries by repeatedly stabbing her last year has been sentenced to life without parole under the state's three-strikes law.

Jurors convicted 36-year-old John Monty Davis of first-degree assault last month.

Given his prior convictions for second-degree assault, that amounted to his third strike when Pierce County Superior Court Judge James Orlando sentenced him Friday.

The attack happened April 16, 2020 at the apartment where Davis and the woman lived.

Officers responded and she was taken to a hospital. She had 12 knife wounds, including a cut to her carotid artery and a severed ulnar nerve on her wrist, deputy prosecutor Dione Hauger wrote in charging papers.

"This is his third most serious offense conviction," Hauger told the judge Friday, after she read Davis' lengthy criminal history aloud. "The court has no discretion in cases like this under the case law that I'm aware of ... ."

Defense attorney Paula Olson argued that the three-strikes law was unconstitutional as applied to her client for two reasons.

"It is impermissibly imposed here based on juvenile and young adult conduct," Olson wrote in a sentencing memorandum, and "it is racially disproportionate in its effect on racial minorities, including black men."

One of her client's strikes happened when he was 16, she wrote, and another was when he was 21. She noted that juvenile justice law has changed as a result of evolving science about how adolescent and young adult brains develop.

She also cited a 2010 report that said nearly 40 percent of three-strikes offenders sentenced to life without parole were Black, like Davis, though they represented 3.9 percent of Washington's population.

Olson told the court that her client never really got the mental health treatment that he needed, and that he has been a very good father to his children.

Judge Orlando said he didn't disagree that Davis "probably suffered significant consequences over the years by being incarcerated."

He also noted Davis' criminal history, including his history of violent crimes, and said drugs appeared to play a role in the recent assault.

The judge also referenced a jail phone call in which the girlfriend told Davis: "You almost (expletive) killed me," which the judge said "clearly goes to the severity of the injury that she suffered."

He said Davis has had opportunities to mature, for his brain to develop, and to get treatment.

"This is not a case that can be taken lightly," the judge said. "... He's not a juvenile offender anymore."