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Arnold Man Pleads No Contest In Shooting

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By Craig Koscho

Arnold resident Arlin Dale Crawford, originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of Bradford Lavelle Davis, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter Tuesday morning in Calaveras County Superior Court.

The 41-year-old Crawford faces a sentence of 10 years n six for the killing, and another four years for using a firearm in the incident.

Formal sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m., Jan. 28.

He also pleaded guilty to being an ex-felon in possession of a weapon, and for growing marijuana and possessing methamphetamine at the time of his arrest.

Time for those charges will be served concurrently with the other counts.

Trial on the first-degree murder charge was scheduled to start this month.

The body of the 52-year-old Davis was found July 6, 2003, about 1.5 miles north of White Pines Lake. Authorities determined he had been killed elsewhere.

Davis had been shot twice, once in the back and again in the back of the head, by a black powder revolver, a handgun that is loaded with powder, wadding and lead balls.

During their investigation, officers determined that Crawford left a July 2 party at his home when Davis´s girlfriend, Francine Reece, arrived at the house, bruised from a beating she allegedly received from the victim.

A person at that party later told investigators Crawford told him he went to Davis´s mobile home in Avery to confront him about the beating and shot at him when Davis swung a tool at him.

After Davis was on the floor, Crawford shot him in the back of the head, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing.

Following Tuesday´s proceedings, District Attorney Jeff Tuttle said some of that testimony was called into question after investigators talked to other residents of the mobile home park.

Crawford said he fired at Davis when the victim came at him with a pipe under a darkened overhang, Tuttle said.

Neighbors said the three shots came in quick succession.

Two struck the victim, the third was found lodged in a wall of the mobile home, Tuttle said.

Crawford will have to serve at least 85 percent of his time and will be placed on three years parole after that.

He will receive credit for time served. That has not been calculated yet, but Tuttle said it would be about 18 months.

Reprinted With Permission From The Calaveras Enterprise

Contact at .Craig Koscho