In murder trial, evidence that victim ran ‘some sort of cult’

The curious ways of George Davis were front and center Thursday in the trial of Alex Taylor, accused of murdering Davis in north Napa last year.

A young woman described how Davis asked her to sign a contract that would give him control over her and promise secrecy regarding Davis’ dabblings in witchcraft. According to evidence presented in the case, Davis, 62, attempted to form a cult of sorts with young people interested in the dark arts.

One of those young people was Taylor, 26, who stands accused of murdering Davis in April of 2007. Taylor, 26, has confessed to shooting Davis at least five times. His defense attorney contends it was not murder, and that if Taylor is found guilty he should be deemed not guilty by reason of insanity.

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On Thursday, Chelsea Bins testified that she obtained a contract written by Davis that stated the person signing the document would be subject to Davis and his “rules of obedience.” Bins said she was 15 or 16 when she first met Davis through some of her friends.

“I met George through my friends … it was like joining some sort of cult,” Bins said. “Like we could go into other people’s bodies. George was our teacher,” Bins said. “It was a contract of obedience.”

Bins said her mother found the contract and called police.

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Bins testified she did not sign the contract. “It sounded crazy to me,” she said.

Other documents Bins received from Davis included instructions on how to become a wizard or a warlock.

The contract of obedience included rules instructing the signer to “obey George without question.”

The document stated the signer “shall never speak of it to anyone, including my family … Whatever George does is for my own good and I want it. I need it and I demand that he does it. I will take my punishments at the hand of George in silence, willingly, gladly, without any resistance in any way, shape or form.”

The accused, Taylor, signed such a contract in 1999.

After police were notified by Bins’ mother, Davis was interviewed by Napa Police detective Prim Knutsen in 2000. That interview was played for the jury on Thursday.

Davis said, “I don’t deal with teenagers because teenagers don’t know what they want out of life.”

Davis told Knutsen that he gave the contract to a male adult who must have given it to Bins.

Knutsen asked Davis numerous questions about his religious beliefs and his interest in witchcraft.

Davis alluded to Baphomet, a mythical figure mentioned in writings going back hundreds of years.

“Baphomet is the main deity. He’s the yin and yang of all things. He works through Gaia, the Earth Mother, and Omega, who is the mechanic of the universe. In other words, he is the one that keeps things running on time,” Davis told Knutsen.

Davis said he developed his religion in 1964.

The Taylor trial is in its fourth week, and Napa County Deputy District Attorney Gary Van Camp has rested his case.

Two possible motives have been presented to the jury. One is that Taylor, who said he suffers from schizophrenia, agreed to Davis’ wish for assisted suicide because he was in poor physical heath.

The other motive is Taylor’s belief that Davis was the person who raped him when he was 4. That incident has not been substantiated.

Defense attorney Jess Raphael is expected to take two weeks or so to present his side of the case.

If found guilty of the murder of Davis, Taylor is looking at 25 years to life in state prison.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Napa Valley Register, USA
Apr. 11, 2008
Marsha Dorgan

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This post was last updated: Apr. 11, 2008