Gun conviction involving testimony of daughter, 6, affirmed

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An Indiana man’s federal conviction of two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm was affirmed over his challenge of the evidence against him, which included testimony from his 6-year-old daughter.

Keenan Davis was convicted after two separate incidents involving multiple parties and disputed possession of guns. In the first case, Davis drove with his girlfriend to the home of his ex-girlfriend — his girlfriend’s sister — and another man. A fight quickly ensued, and when police were called, they found a firearm on the curb outside the house.

Along with the witnesses to the fight, the government called police to testify as well as Davis’ 6-year-old daughter. She testified that she came out during the fight when she heard loud noises and that while she never saw the gun, she knew Davis had one because her mother — Davis’ ex-girlfriend — told her he had a gun.

Subsequently, a revolver was found during a search of the home Davis shared with multiple people. While he denied the gun was his and moved for acquittal on both counts, a jury in Fort Wayne convicted Davis on both counts and sentenced him to 100 months in prison.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the verdict and the denial of Davis’ motion for acquittal Wednesday in USA v. Keenan Davis, 17-2814. The district court did not plainly err in admitting testimony from an officer nor from Davis’ daughter. Davis argued the latter lacked probative value and was unduly prejudicial.

“"In support of this contention, Davis argues that C.D.’s testimony was contradictory and thus, unreliable. He also argues her presence, as the six-year-old daughter of the defendant, was unnecessarily inflammatory,” Judge William J. Bauer wrote for the panel. “We do not to find C.D.’s testimony so obviously and egregiously prejudicial that the district court should have excluded it sua sponte.”

Likewise, the panel found the government did not abuse Federal Rule of Evidence 607 in calling Davis’ son, who had offered conflicting testimony about the ownership of one of the guns as Davis made numerous phone calls from jail that “tend to suggest Davis tried to influence (his son) in assisting his way out of the charges.”

The panel found the government “provides sufficient circumstantial evidence to conclude Davis constructively possessed the revolver.”

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