One spring evening on Good Friday, paramedics Ed Day and Cliff Davis were called into action. On April 5th, 1985, the pair reported to the scene of a shooting in Great Falls, Montana. Dispatchers informed them that the victim had suffered multiple gunshot wounds (this was to correct an earlier thought that the victim had only been hit by one gunshot). When they finally arrived at the scene, officers wanted to brace them for what they were about to see. However, there was no way that they could have prepared Cliff Davis for what he was about to learn.
The victim in this case was a member of his own family.
Upon seeing the cowboy boots that the man was wearing, Cliff became certain that the man was his brother Morris. Cliff was then overcome with a sense of shock at that moment. He had become very upset and was screaming in agony. Sadly, he had to compose himself enough to help put Morris onto the stretcher. Cliff had to keep putting Morris’ hand back onto the stretcher since it kept falling off. That was one of the reasons that made him doubt the chances of his brother surviving the ordeal. Cliff was watching him through the crawl space of the ambulance as other paramedics performed CPR on him. Tragically, Morris was pronounced dead once they’d all arrived at the hospital.
Morris was shot more than eight times. The investigators believed that robbery was the motive for his attack that night. If that was the motive, the killer got away with less than $300. Cliff could never understand why someone would want to so much as harm his brother. He described his brother as a well-liked person who brought positive energy everywhere that he went. He very much enjoyed being outdoors and spent his free time working on cars. He was just 23 years old when he was murdered. Just four months before his death, Morris took a job delivering pizza for a local parlor by the name of Howard’s Pizza. He was completing a delivery at a house the night that he was shot to death.
The police formed the belief that the killer selected a vacant house earlier that evening. They then removed the “For Sale” sign from the front yard. After breaking into the house, the killer placed the pizza order a little after 8:30 pm. The house has no service, so the killer would have needed to place the call from some other location (given that it was 1985, it was most likely a payphone). Morris Davis was — unfortunately — the next available driver for that delivery. He would head out at around 9:15 pm. Witnesses claimed that he made it to the house’s front porch at around 9:20 pm. As soon as Morris entered the house, he was shot. He turned to escape outside and was shot again. Then, the killer dragged him back inside and shot him several more times. Another driver was sent to the house to check on Morris when he hadn’t returned from his delivery. That driver was the one who discovered the body and called the police.
The case stalled for three years as investigators struggled to find any leads or suspects. Then, the investigation had a break in a town 180 miles away. On May 11th, 1988, sheriff’s deputies arrested a man who was driving a stolen car. The car had been reported stolen in Oregon three days beforehand. The officers searched the driver and found two pawn shop receipts. One of them was for a .22 caliber pistol that had also been reported stolen. This was the same type of gun that was used in Morris’ case. The police recovered the gun from the pawnshop and sent it out to be tested at their ballistics lab. To their relief, the tests confirmed that the gun was — in fact — the murder weapon.
The man that had been stopped by police claimed that he had stolen the gun from one of his friends. The police were able to verify his story and cleared him of any involvement in Morris’ murder. Seeing as how he stole the gun in Oregon, it was just a crazy coincidence that he happened to have pawned the gun where Morris was murdered in Great Falls. He told the police that his friend, Rick, was the owner of the gun. Rick denied any involvement in the murder and even claimed to have an alibi. He told police that he was with his infant son at the time of the murder. He did admit to keeping the gun in the house for protection. However, he told police that only he and his wife knew where it was kept. He had no idea how someone could have known where it was to steal it. After thoroughly looking into Rick, the police found that they had no reason to suspect he was the killer.
Then there was a twist.
New ballistics testing was done in October 1995. Those tests determined that the gun from the pawnshop was actually not the murder weapon. Now, the police have to start from the beginning. They started in 2005 with a man named Donald DuBray. In 1986, DuBray stabbed a woman multiple times in the convenience store where she worked. He was convicted in 1999. FBI profilers believed her murderer and Morris’ murderer were the same person. DuBray’s phone calls from prison were recorded. The recordings showed that he was trying to establish an alibi with someone for murder. Traffic tickets revealed that DuBray was in Great Falls at the time Morris was shot. Before the murder, he had committed a robbery using the same type of pistol that was used to kill Morris. However, it is unknown if testing had been done on the pistol. DuBray also told Cliff — Morris’ brother — that he was in the house at the time of the murder; but he denied being the one who pulled the trigger.
DuBray died in prison in 2016. He was never definitively linked to the murder of Morris Davis. Unfortunately, his case remains unsolved.