Arizona prosecutors to seek death penalty if 2 are convicted

June 21, 2022 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County prosecutors announced Tuesday they plan to seek the death penalty for a couple if they’re convicted of killing an 11-year-old boy in Scottsdale five months ago.

A grand jury indicted 52-year-old Stephanie Marie Davis and her 33-year-old husband, Thomas James Desharnais, in February on 11 felony counts that included first-degree murder, child abuse and tampering with evidence.

Scottsdale police said the child died at a hospital the month before.

According to police, Davis told dispatchers she found her grandson unresponsive in the bathtub of an Scottsdale hotel on Jan. 30.

First responders said they removed a half liter of water from the boy’s body during life-saving efforts and notes numerous other injuries that were at various healing stages.

Prosecutors said Davis and Desharnais allegedly “inflicted bodily harm in an especially heinous or depraved manner” on the boy since January 2019.


Davis also is accused of striking the child in the head with a ratchet and failing to seek medical treatment for his injuries, according to prosecutors.

Both Davis and Desharnais pleaded not guilty to the charges Feb. 17. They remain held on multimillion-dollar bonds as they await April 2024 trials.

Calls and emails to the public defenders who represent the couple weren’t immediately returned Tuesday.