Domestic disputes not uncommon at slain teacher's home

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May 5, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---Schofield Middle School teacher Dana Davis was found stabbed to death inside her burning home Thursday night (May 3). Aiken Public Safety was back on the scene today with the victim's daughter, who is in custody but not named as a suspect.

What began as a fire soon became a murder investigation when Dana Davis' lifeless body was found inside her burning bedroom.

The Aiken County coroner later determined Davis didn't die in the fire, but was dead before it even started. She was stabbed multiple times, once fatally to the heart.

Witnesses say Davis' 21-year-old daughter Christina Mavris made the gruesome discovery and called 911.

"We saw her out there, and she was kind of irate at first, and she was crying, and from what we could understand, she said she was full of holes and there was a fire inside the house," said neighbor Michael Bentley.

But seeing Mavris upset and officers at the house was a common scene according to neighbors and police. Aiken DPS has at least three different incident reports filed by Davis against her daughter since 2003.

"It got to be on such a regular basis that it didn't even faze us at first until this happened," Bentley said.

Three hours after responding to the scene, deputies arrested Mavris on an outstanding bench warrant. DPS says she is not a suspect but is an important part of this investigation. That's why they brought her back to the home today to talk about what she remembers about that night.

Bentley and his wife are also helping investigators. They were sitting on their porch directly across the street at the time Davis' was reportedly stabbed.

"We didn't hear not a word, not a soul, not a scream, not anything," Bentley said.

But Bentley says he did later see someone on the side of the house with a flame. He believes it was a cigarette lighter or a candle that may have been later used to start the fire.

"I couldn't make out the silhouette if it was a male or female, but I know it went out, came back on, went out, came back on and then went out again," he said.

Now this father says having a murder so close to home and no suspects yet in the case is unsettling.

"When something like this happens, it kind of wakes you up and keeps you on guard. We're probably going to be moving out of here in the next few weeks unless we find out who did it."

This is the first murder so far this year in the city of Aiken. The last murder happened last June when Dale Baldwin was found dead outside her York Street home.

Authorities later arrested her son Craig Baldwin and charged him with her murder. He is currently undergoing a mental evaluation in Columbia.

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