Murder case headed to grand jury

Bradley Allan McMahan

The case against a Tennessee man accused of murdering a Eubank woman is headed to the grand jury.

Bradley Allan McMahan, 34, appeared before Pulaski District Judge Jeffrey Scott Lawless Wednesday afternoon for a preliminary hearing.

The Maryville native has been charged with murder in connection to the death of 59-year-old Johnnie Faye Davis, who was discovered dead in her home November 1.

According to testimony from Detective John Hutchinson of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, authorities responded to the scene on Goodhope Church Road around 6:43 a.m. that morning. Initially dispatched for a home invasion, PCSO officers arrived to find the front door locked but were able to enter through the back. Once inside, the officers found Davis lying unresponsive in the foyer -- with blood covering her face from what turned out to be a broken nose and the electric cord from a nearby oscillating fan wrapped around her neck.

Davis lived with her two grandchildren, who had been getting ready for school when the assault began. Det. Hutchinson said Davis' 11-year-old grandson recognized the assailant as his mother's ex-boyfriend. The boy ran to the bedroom of his 15-year-old sister, where together they barricaded the door and left the home through the bedroom window to seek help at a neighbor's house.

The detective testified that the children told authorities that McMahan chased after them as they left the house. At one point, the girl tripped and fell on the road and, when she turned back, she reportedly recognized McMahan's "voice and posture." Once they made it to the neighboring home, McMahan allegedly turned around and left the scene.

With a person of interest authorities were searching for, McMahan was ultimately located later in the day by Somerset Police Department at the Dollar General on East Mt. Vernon Street. Once in custody, the suspect was Mirandized and gave taped statements. Det. Hutchinson testified that while McMahan confessed to strangling Davis, he claimed that "she came at him with a knife and it was self defense." McMahan allegedly told officers that he placed that knife on an island in the kitchen with Det. Hutchinson noting the kitchen didn't have an island and that no knife was found on the kitchen table.

Authorities, Detective Hutchinson testified, have a couple of theories for motive but nothing yet established.

Preliminary autopsy results are consistent with Davis dying from strangulation. Det. Hutchinson also testified that blood evidence taken from the home and McMahan's truck, as well his clothing and the fan, will be sent to the Kentucky State Police lab for testing. In the home, the blood trail extended from Davis' bedroom down the hall to the living room.

"The evidence supports that she was slammed into the (bedroom) door frame face first," Hutchinson said.

McMahan's attorney Andrea Simpson made no arguments against probable cause but did ask Judge Lawless to consider lowering her client's $1 million bond. Assistant County Attorney Kenton Lanham object, citing McMahan's prior criminal record out of state as well as the nature of the case.

Judge Lawless declined to change the bond, saying he agreed with that the defendant poses a danger to the community. The case now goes to the Pulaski County Grand Jury for consideration.

McMahan remains lodged at the Pulaski County Detention Center.