SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who beat his estranged wife to death with a commemorative baseball bat as she delivered food to him at his City Heights apartment was sentenced Friday to 16 years to life in state prison.
Dana Marion Davis, 56, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to second- degree murder in the death of April Davis, his spouse of more than 30 years and the mother of his six children.
The defendant beat the 51-year-old victim with a wooden bat on the afternoon of Oct. 7, 2017, then prevented a family member and police from entering the apartment, said Deputy District Attorney Stephen Marquardt. When officers finally gained entry, she was found dead on the floor.
Davis told Judge Michael Smyth that he was remorseful for killing the mother of his children.
"She didn't deserve this," the defendant said before he was sentenced.
To his children -- three of whom were present in court -- Davis said, "I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you."
A psychologist determined the defendant suffered childhood development trauma that affected his relationship with his wife, Deputy Public Defender Amy Hoffman told the judge.
When talking to police after the murder, Davis was "clearly in shock" as to what happened, Hoffman told the judge. The attorney said alcohol was involved in the fatal encounter.
According to Marquardt, the defendant was on probation for domestic violence when he killed his wife. The two had been living apart.
The prosecutor said the defendant had been violent with the victim in the past, having been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in 1994 and 2016.
When the defendant was convicted of punching his wife in the head in 2016, he was also prosecuted for choking his teenage daughter, Marquardt said.