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Officer details 'bone-chilling screams' of Winterville woman as man armed with gun choked her

Denzell Omar Smith

By Joe Johnson

A Winterville man was arrested this week for allegedly assaulting a woman twice over a month ago--by choking and pointing a gun at her, Athens-Clarke County police said.

The incident occurred the night of April 17, when Athens-Clarke County police officers responded to a report of a man with a gun at a Winter Circle residence, police said.

When they arrived at the home, where 29-year-old Denzell Omar Davis lived, the officers learned that Davis and two women there had returned from downtown when one of the women decided to walk home, but Davis called after her, saying, “Where you going bitch” and then blocked her path and choked her with two hands, according to police.

“(The woman) told me that she felt like she was seconds away from ‘going to sleep’ or passing out,” Officer Mikel Jones wrote in the report.

The report goes on to describe how after choking the woman, he reached into her interior jacket pocket and took her semiautomatic pistol, at which time she “ran for her life” to another residence, nearby on Winter Circle, where she called 911, police said.

Davis chased after in the victim's sister's car, which police said he took without permission, and upon arriving at the Winter Circle location, Davis saw the woman making the 911 call, so he took the phone and smashed it on the ground, the police report noted.

The fearful woman reportedly pleaded with Davis to not shoot her, police said, and after choking the woman one more time, he sped away, and after entering the Athens Perimeter, he sped "well over" 100 mph as he passed the scene of a collision with injuries, “putting several officers’ loves at risk as they were conducting the accident investigation.”

When Jones listened to a recording of the victim's 911 call, he heard the fear and desperation in her voice.

“As she pleaded with him not to shoot her and drop the gun, you can hear her tell him this over 20 times,” the officer wrote in his report.

“You could also hear (the victim) attempting to reason with him, stalling for time.

“At one point you could hear the dispatcher ask (the victim) had she been injured, and she tells the dispatcher, ‘No, but I’m about to be,' "according to Officer Jones’ report.

The officer noted that Jones was a repeat offender, who racked up 38 arrests since 2010.

Jones wrote in his report that based on his own observations, the 911 call and witness interviews, he would seek warrants charging Smith with two counts of aggravated assault, and one count each of robbery, obstructing a 911 call, second-degree criminal damage to property, and possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies.

"I personally listened to the 911 call recording," the officer wrote in his report. "You could hear the fear and raw emotion in (the victim's) voice as she desperately pleaded with him not to shoot her and drop the gun... after that ,you could only hear (the victim's) bone chilling screams as Davis choked was very obvious to me that (the victim) was in serious fear for her life."

The warrants were signed by an Athens-Clarke Magistrate Court judge, but it was not until Monday that Davis was arrested.

The report did not indicate Smith's relationship to the victim.

It did describe visible injuries to the 326-yer-old woman, including finger marks around her neck, and a finger that was bleeding from where a fingernail snapped off

As of Thursday, Smith remained incarcerated at the county jail without bonds being setfor most of the offenses.

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