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Thursday, January 28, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Northwest Briefly

Fort Lewis Man Guilty Of Murder

Times Staff: Times News Services

FORT LEWIS, Pierce County

A 31-year-old Army corporal has been found guilty of murdering his wife in a case originally dismissed as a suicide.

A court-martial panel also convicted Christian N. Davis yesterday of conspiring with his mistress to murder his wife, Dorothy Davis, and of arson and attempted murder in a May 24, 1987 fire at the couple's mobile home at Fort Polk, La.

Davis was sentenced to a life term and ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances. His rank was reduced to E-1 pending a dishonorable discharge.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner's office and a team of Army investigators from the base south of Tacoma had initially agreed that Dorothy Davis, then a pregnant 35-year-old mother of two, had taken her own life with a .22-caliber shot to the temple. Undated suicide notes in her handwriting were found at the scene and her diaries indicated deep depression.

The case was reopened a year ago when a witness raised questions about Davis' actions the night of his wife's death. Davis reported talking to his wife from the NCO club, the witness said, but Davis could not say what phone he used and appeared out of breath. In addition, a jacket he had been wearing at the club turned up at the murder scene, and Davis was without the jacket when he returned to the club.

The Army contended Davis killed his wife and faked her "suicide" so he could end his marriage without having to pay child-support, marry his girlfriend and collect a life-insurance policy and Social Security payments.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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