INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – A 42-year-old Independence man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to expanded Jackson County charges in the videotaped death and sexual torture of one woman and to new charges of sexually assaulting a second woman whose burned body turned up in a neighboring county.
Richard D. Davis and co-defendant Dena D. Riley, 40, have been held since they were captured May 25 in southwest Missouri, 10 days after a fisherman found the body of 41-year-old Marsha Spicer in rural Lafayette County. A 5-year-old southeast Kansas girl related to Davis was with the couple when they were arrested.
Videotapes found in the couple's Independence apartment showed Spicer and a second woman, later identified as 36-year-old Michelle Ricci, being sexually tormented.
After their arrests, Davis and Riley directed authorities to Ricci's charred remains in rural Clay County, near the city of Liberty. Prosecutors believe Ricci was sexually assaulted April 8 or April 9 in Jackson County, then driven to Clay County and strangled there.
Jackson County Prosecutor Mike Sanders said Wednesday he does not expect to file more charges against Davis — nor does he believe the investigation will lead to additional victims.
"We have no information to believe that other than the young girl and the two victims here, that there are other victims surrounding these two individuals," Sanders said.
In addition to the two deaths, Riley and Davis have been indicted on a federal charge of kidnapping the 5-year-old southeast Kansas girl after fleeing the Kansas City area. Court documents said the child had suffered injuries consistent with sexual abuse.
Any charges in Ricci's death would be filed in Clay County, Sanders said, with the two counties probably working together on prosecution. No charges had been filed Wednesday in Clay County.
Sanders expects to decide soon whether to seek the death penalty against Davis, who — like Riley — was initially charged with six counts each of kidnapping, torturing and murdering Spicer.
Under a new indictment, Davis faces 40 counts — 18, including one count of first-degree murder, relating to Spicer and 22 relating to Ricci.
An indictment against Riley will remain sealed until her arraignment, scheduled July 19, but The Kansas City Star has reported she will face 20 counts stemming from the two cases. Sanders would not confirm that report.
Shackled and wearing a bullet-resistant vest over his orange jail jumpsuit, Davis did not speak during his brief arraignment Wednesday before Jackson County Associate Circuit Judge Jeffrey Bushur. Public defender Gretchen Eikermann entered not guilty pleas for Davis to all 40 counts.
The judge set Sept. 14 for a pretrial conference.
Sanders said the videotapes found in the Independence apartment were key to the charges. One tape, more than two hours long, showed Spicer being beaten, raped and strangled during violent, three-way sex. Tapes involving Ricci were longer, resulting in more charges in her case, Sanders said.