A man convicted of a brutal murder and attempted rape while he was a 16-year-old student at Canby Union High School is among the 70 inmates whose sentences were commuted by Governor Kate Brown last month and who may petition the state for parole or post-prison supervision.
Todd Daniel Davilla, now 47 and serving time at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem, was a sophomore honor student at Canby in 1991, when he forced his way into a home in Wilsonville’s Charbonneau district in an attempt to rape 22-year-old Lisa Jennell Flormoe, who was visiting from Eugene.
She was on the phone with her fiance, Eugene resident Brian Eaker, who heard her scream, “What do you want? Please don’t hurt me,” before the line went dead. To prevent her from reporting the assault, Davilla stabbed Flormoe 15 times in the neck with a dull Boy Scout knife, nearly decapitating her.
Afterward, he took a shower and spent the rest of the day at the Clackamas County Fair with friends. Davilla did not know Flormoe but lived two blocks from where she was staying. He had come by looking for a different girl, then attempted the rape after learning Flormoe was alone in the house.
As a juvenile who committed his crimes prior to reaching adulthood — and before the Legislature passed sweeping juvenile justice and Measure 11 reforms in 2019 — Davilla meets the governor’s criteria for requesting a review by the Oregon State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision.
His name was included in a list attached to Brown’s Oct. 20 commutation order as examples of the cases that would meet her new criteria, along with Miguel Espinal, Shayne Jacobs and Andrew Johnson — who were also convicted of murder in Clackamas County when they were 16 or 17 years old.
Lisa Flormoe’s sister, Lorna, was among the family members of crime victims who were upset by the governor’s decision.
“I wish I could talk to Governor Brown and give her some details on what Todd Davilla did to my sister,” Flormoe told The Oregonian‘s Noelle Crombie.
“It’s so easy for lawmakers and appeals court people to make these sweeping statements about letting certain folks back into our community. I would just like for them to think about how they would feel if that was their family member that happened to and to know some of the gory details and to have to face those.”
Clackamas County District Attorney John Wentworth told the paper he is stunned by the prospect that Davilla and other people convicted of serious violent crimes in his county may be released early.
“These are pretty extraordinary cases that include sexual assault, rapes, murder,” he said. “I am frustrated. I don’t know that the governor appreciates the emotion and work and faith in the system that go into getting the sentences that we have because she can undo them with the stroke of a pen and that’s what she seems intent on doing.”
Davilla’s case has been through many twists and turns since he pleaded guilty to murder, attempted rape and burglary in 1992 and was given a life sentence. His guilt has never been in question — but his sentence has been disputed for nearly 30 years.
Initially tried as an adult, the Oregon Court of Appeals later ruled the judge failed to use the correct sentencing guidelines. He was resentenced in 1995, receiving more than 116 years due to what the judge called “aggravating factors.” The appellate court again kicked the case back because the sentencing guidelines of the day prohibited life sentences for juvenile defendants.
In 2002, he received a 57-year sentence, which the appeals court overruled, citing a U.S Supreme Court decision that gives a defendant in Davilla’s situation the right to have a jury determine which, if any, “aggravating factors” should be considered in sentencing.
Five years later, Davilla was sentenced to life in prison, which the Court of Appeals again overturned. His sixth and most recent sentence was 50 years, handed down in 2017. That penalty was reversed in March 2020, with the court deciding the judge failed to take into account the “unique qualities of youth” and whether the defendant was capable of change.
He is currently awaiting a new sentencing hearing in Clackamas County.
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