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Wednesday, June 2, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Two Sides Unfolding For Lonnie Davis

Seattle Times Staff Reporters

EVEN THOSE who knew about Lonnie Davis' criminal history say they could not have predicted his violent rampage this past weekend.

Late in the afternoon of July 18, 1995, police arrested Lonnie Cedric Davis - the man believed responsible for three killings on Friday - in an attack on a 25-year-old woman earlier that day.

The woman told police she was walking to a Laundromat when Davis, then 17, grabbed her by the neck, put a pistol to her head and demanded money. She handed over a fanny pack, and he hit her over the head and ran.

Stephanie Adraktas was Davis' attorney during his robbery trial. She recalls a much different side to his personality.

"He was a sweet, sweet kid," she said. "He said `Yes, ma'am, no ma'am.' He wasn't at all disrespectful or rude."

As investigators continue to probe into the troubled life of Davis, inconsistencies in his behavior seem to grow larger.

Attorneys and jail officials say Davis was a polite, soft-spoken man with plenty of family support. But Davis also got into enough trouble that the Seattle Police Department Gang Unit opened a file on him, suspecting Davis might be headed for bigger trouble.

Last Friday, police say Davis, 21, killed his mother, Shelia Lindsey, and 18-month-old nephew, Kahari Prince, in their Brier home. He later injured a motorcyclist, assaulted an 82-year-old woman and killed a 63-year-old retired nurse in Shoreline before he was killed by a police sniper's bullet.

Davis' first brush with jail came in 1993, when he was arrested for stealing a car. Davis was in the back seat when police stopped a 1971 Ford Maverick with three other teenagers inside.

Davis spent only a day or so in the county's juvenile detention facility in Seattle, according to David Winger, assistant detention manager for the King County Department of Youth Services.

A year later, Davis was jailed again, this time for assault. Two months later, he was back in jail, again on an assault charge. Both times, he spent only a day or two in the juvenile facility, Winger said.

By then, the number of arrests had attracted the attention of Detective Ed Harris of the Gang Unit.

Harris said he opened a file on Davis but never spoke with him. Instead, Harris watched to see if Davis committed any further crimes or associated with gang members.

Reviewing his files yesterday, Harris said Davis was not suspected of ever belonging to a gang.

"He wasn't a real active player on the street," Harris said.

Despite the assault arrests, Davis "was not known to be violent," he added. "There are some people that are known to be violent. But not Lonnie Davis."

In 1995, Davis was convicted of robbery and sentenced to 142 weeks in custody. He spent three months in juvenile detention before being transferred to Indian Ridge Youth Camp in Arlington.

"Lonnie exhibited no unusual behavior," Winger said. "He was a good inmate; he got along with his peers and staff."

Jail officials occasionally refer inmates to mental-health professionals. For Davis, no such referral was deemed necessary, Winger said.

Davis stayed at Indian Ridge from October 1995 to March 1996, when he was transferred to Park Creek Group Home in Ellensburg, according to the state Department of Juvenile Rehabilitation. He stayed only a month before being sent to Griffin Home in Seattle. He was released in July 1997.

On Aug. 7, 1998, police stopped Davis for driving a car without a rear license plate. Police discovered 16 grams of marijuana in the car and arrested Davis. Davis later told police he had intended to sell the drugs.

After missing his arraignment, the King County Prosecutor's Office issued an arrest warrant with a $10,000 bond. The warrant was still pending Friday when Davis began his rampage.

Toxicology results on Davis may not be ready for several weeks, according to the King County medical examiner.

The test will reveal whether Davis was under the influence of drugs during the killings, Medical Examiner Bill McClure said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Anthony Venegas, 64, the motorcyclist who lost part of his leg when he was struck by a car driven by Davis, remained in satisfactory condition this morning at Harborview Medical Center.

Irene Hilton, 82, was in serious condition with a skull fracture, according to Harborview officials.

Relatives of Davis declined to speak to reporters yesterday. Friends of the family say they are continuing to offer support in the tragedy's aftermath.

"At this time, we're really concentrating on supporting the family," said Audrey Williams, a co-worker of Shelia Lindsey. "That's what she would do. She really cared about children and families."

Information from Seattle Times staff reporters Arthur Santana and Keiko Morris is included in this report.

Alex Fryer's phone number is 206-464-8124. His e-mail address is: afry-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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