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Murder defendant testifies at hearing

Stranger Davis, the man accused of killing Michael MacDonald near Cave Junction last August, testified Monday that he shot MacDonald four times and that he wants "the truth" to come out about why he did it.

That truth, according to Davis, has to do with government coverups of mass murders and other crimes. He testified that he has a good memory for certain details about the crimes.

"I couldn't tell you what I ate two days ago for breakfast, but I could tell you where I've seen bodies disposed of," Davis said.

Davis, 29, has been charged with murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm for the Aug. 2, 2014, death of the 61-year-old MacDonald, an acquaintance who went by the nickname "Dirty Mike." The shooting happened on a Rockydale Road property that is dotted with structures and frequented by various visitors.

Davis' testimony Monday came during a hearing in the Josephine County Jail courtroom to determine whether he is mentally fit to aid in his own defense.

The defendant's attorney, Peter Smith, argued that his client is delusional and can't make appropriate decisions about his case. He disputes the prosecution's claim that the delusions were brought on by Davis' longtime methamphetamine use.

At Monday's hearing, Smith asked Davis when he last used methamphetamine. Davis replied he had taken meth the night of Aug. 2, hours after the murder.

Smith asked Davis if he'd been using other drugs or alcohol around that time.

"After I dispatched Dirty I drank a couple of beers," Davis said.

In his cross-examination of Davis, District Attorney Ryan Mulkins asked him, "When you use the word 'dispatch,' what does the word 'dispatch' mean?"

Davis replied that it means "to send on, to send out."

"To kill?" Mulkins asked.

"Yes sir, I killed Dirty Mike," Davis said.

A few minutes later, Davis — who began his testimony wide-eyed and grinning broadly — appeared to tear up as Mulkins continued his questioning.

"Ryan, this isn't about me," Davis said, explaining he would rather have stayed home and helped his child learn to walk than to have ended up in court.

A forensic psychologist, Eric Morrell, then testified for the defense that Davis seems to believe he is on some sort of mission.

"He felt that he had to take the matter into his own hands because no one else would do it," Morrell said.

Davis told investigators after his arrest that he killed MacDonald because MacDonald was involved in a series of crimes in the Illinois Valley and he wanted the crimes to stop.

Morrell said he found that Davis has "significant impairment based on delusional factors" and is therefore unable to assist in his own defense in the murder case.

That finding was contrary to testimony given in June by Dr. S. Michael Sasser, a psychiatrist for the prosecution who agreed that Davis is delusional but understands the crime he committed and the potential punishment he faces, and is mentally capable of aiding his attorney.

The competency hearing was held over two days — June 8 and Monday — because of scheduling complications.

The decision on whether Davis is fit to proceed is now in the hands of Josephine County Circuit Court Judge Lindi Baker. Smith suggested the judge could send Davis to the state mental hospital to be evaluated there as a "tie breaker."

Baker did not indicate when she would make a decision. If Davis were found to be unfit, he would be placed in the state hospital and the criminal proceedings against him would be suspended.

Reach reporter Melissa McRobbie at 541-474-3806 or mmcrobbie@thedailycourier.com