Jeff Davis Sentenced to 25 Years for 2014 Death
By Molokai Dispatch Staff
Molokai resident Jeff Davis pleaded no contest to manslaughter and three firearms charges and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the death of 19-year-old Koshari Waits in 2014. Waits was found by a motorist on an east end driveway on May 20, 2014, killed by a single, small caliber bullet in the back of the head, according to police.
Davis was sentenced at the end of last month, during a court hearing in which the defense and prosecution presented differing positions on how the victim died. Davis and Waits were family friends.
“I know I was responsible for him dying, but I did not kill him,” Davis said in court, as reported by The Maui News. “I had a gun that I wasn’t supposed to.”
Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds said the two had been partying together that night, and the toxicology report on Waits confirmed alcohol, and the use of methamphetamine and other drugs.
Simonds said Davis had borrowed the handgun and according to The Maui News, Davis told some people that Waits asked for his picture taken with the gun that Davis was carrying in his backpack. Davis said he walked away to roll a joint and came back to find that Waits had shot himself, according to Simonds.
However, Waits’ death was determined to be a homicide after the autopsy performed by a forensic pathologist, Simonds said.
Defense attorney Chris Dunn maintained the possibility of suicide, supported by a psychologist’s letter to the court, and even Waits’ father wrote a letter supporting that theory, according to Dunn.
“I love Koshari,” Davis said in court, reported by The Maui News. “I still love him. He’s like my little brother. I should have recognized that night there was issues. I didn’t know, I didn’t think he could hurt himself. I should have been more responsible. But under the conditions we were in, I missed it.
“There were a lot of mistakes I made. I have to live with that every day, no matter where I am, in jail or at home. I have to live with that remorse of me being there, of him taking his life. I could have stopped it.”
Waits’ mother, Nancy Campbell-Kowardy, also testified in court.
“I feel Jeff Davis should have to wake up every day in prison,” she said, according to The Maui News. “I do not believe he should ever be allowed to be in society again and possibly ruin another family’s life.”
Second Circuit Court Judge Peter Cahill said in the sentencing it remained unclear how the fatal gunshot occurred but said Davis’ illegal procession of a firearm and reckless behavior led to the death.
He ordered Davis to serve a 20-year prison term for manslaughter and a concurrent 10-year prison terms for carrying a loaded firearm on a public highway and keeping a revolver in an improper place. Davis was ordered to separately serve a five-year prison term for prohibited possession of a firearm.