General Crime

* Shemeeka Davis is Charged with Murder, Torture and Child Abuse in Connection with the Death of Her Niece in Antioch

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Opening statements are beginning in Martinez this afternoon in the trial of an Antioch woman accused of torturing and murdering her foster daughter in 2008. Shemeeka Davis, 40, is charged with murder, torture and child abuse in connection with the Sept. 2, 2008, death of her 15-year-old niece, Jazzmin Davis. She is also charged with abusing and torturing Jazzmin’s twin brother, who is still alive. Davis has entered a dual plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, which means the trial will be held in two phases. The first phase will determine whether Davis is guilty of the charged crimes. If she is found guilty, the second phase will determine whether she was legally sane at the time of the crimes. An autopsy conducted on Jazzmin’s body found that she had been burned with hot irons and whipped with belts and electrical cords over a long period of time. Davis was granted legal guardianship of the twins, who were born in San Francisco, six days before Jazzmin’s death, witnesses testified at a preliminary hearing last June. The San Francisco Human Services Agency, which was in charge of overseeing Davis’ care of the two children, has agreed to a $4 million settlement with Jazzmin’s brother. The Antioch Unified School District board has also approved a $750,000 settlement with Jazzmin’s brother and implemented changes to the district’s attendance policy. After Jazzmin’s death, officials discovered that she hadn’t been to school in 15 months. 
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