Prosecutors have charged a man with aggravated first-degree murder in the death of a White Swan woman in her home last week.
Michael Anthony Davis, 26, is also charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary in Yakima County Superior Court on Monday in connection with the death of 63-year-old Gail Teo at her First Street home Aug. 7.
If convicted of murder, Davis would be sentenced to life without parole.
Even though the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty, Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic filed notice that he would not seek a death sentence in Davis’ case. Brusic explained Tuesday that the death penalty is still in the statute, even though the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional.
The death penalty “arguably cannot be sought, but this cleans it up,” Brusic said of his notice. By issuing the statement, Brusic said it also negates the need for the Department of Assigned Counsel to hire a death-penalty-qualified attorney to represent Davis.
The department provides attorneys for defendants who cannot afford one. Davis was granted a court-appointed attorney during a preliminary hearing last week.
Teo’s husband found his wife dead on the evening of Aug. 7. She was wrapped in plastic and a rug, with stab wounds to her neck and a gunshot wound in her back, according to court documents. Security video from Teo’s home showed a man later identified as Davis confront Teo inside the house hours earlier and attack her with what appeared to be pruning shears, the affidavit said.
An autopsy determined she was stabbed to death, with the gunshot wound a secondary cause, Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice said.
Detectives said evidence suggested that Davis previously approached Teo about getting a job.
Davis is being held in the Yakima County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Teo’s death was the 20th homicide in Yakima County this year, and the sixth in White Swan.