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State

Student arraigned in parents’ slayings

K-9 units and other police officers search Millpond Park in Mount Pleasant, Mich., during a manhunt Friday for 19-year-old James Eric Davis Jr., who is accused of killing his parents in a residence hall on Central Michigan University's campus.
K-9 units and other police officers search Millpond Park in Mount Pleasant, Mich., during a manhunt Friday for 19-year-old James Eric Davis Jr., who is accused of killing his parents in a residence hall on Central Michigan University's campus.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – A 19-year-old student accused of killing his parents inside a Central Michigan University dorm room was arraigned from his hospital bed.

Dressed in a hospital gown and hooked to machines monitoring his vital signs, James Eric Davis Jr. appeared in Isabella County Trial Court via video Tuesday.

He is charged with murder in the Friday slayings of James and Diva Davis. The family is from Plainfield, where Davis Sr. was a part-time police officer in Bellwood.

Frequently during Tuesday afternoon’s hearing, Davis Jr. softly traced an index finger between his nose and upper lip. He also rubbed his chin often while listening to questions from Chamberlain.

When asked by Chamberlain whether he understood the charges or was able to hear the judge, Davis Jr. quietly responded “yes.”

Davis Jr. appeared confused when asked whether he wanted court-appointed defense attorney Joshua Blanchard to represent him. Chamberlain kept Blanchard as his lawyer for the time being.

The judge also lowered Davis Jr.’s initial $3 million bond, setting it at more than $1 million.

Davis Jr.’s parents had just picked him up from a hospital Friday morning, where he was brought for suspected drug abuse a day earlier after campus officers said he was acting erratically, police said. They took him to his room in Campbell Hall to pack up for spring break when they were shot with a gun that belonged to Davis Sr.

Authorities have not said whether drugs were found in Davis Jr.’s system or if the gun used in the shootings was his father’s service weapon.

Davis Jr. fled after the shooting and was the focus of an intense manhunt involving more than 100 officers.

The campus was on lockdown Friday and officials canceled events and activities that evening. Davis Jr. was arrested early Saturday after being spotted near railroad tracks in the area.

Central Michigan’s campus is in Mount Pleasant, about 155 miles northwest of Detroit.

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