Judge Timothy O'Grady declared Brian Davis guilty of Murder in the 1st Degree in the Fremont County District Court on Feb. 16, 2015. Davis was charged with the July 2009 murder of his girlfriend, Holly Durben. Sentencing is scheduled for March 4, 2015.
A five year wait for closure ended in the 30 minutes it took Judge Timothy O'Grady to declare Brian Davis guilty of Murder in the 1st Degree in the Fremont County District Court on Feb. 16, 2015. Davis was charged with the July 2009 murder of his girlfriend, Holly Durben, and the matter finally went to trial the first week of February of this year.
Reading aloud to the Courtroom the circumstances surrounding the incident, evidence gathered and submitted, and his analysis based on the evidence, O'Grady said, "It has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Durben died as a result of either being shot or choked." He went on to explain that if any person other than Durben herself caused Durben's death under the circumstances proven in this case, then the State had proven beyond a doubt that that person acted with malice aforethought, willfully, deliberately, premeditatedly and with a specific intent to kill.
"The question remaining then," O'Grady elaborated, "is whether the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that on July 18, 2009 Davis choked and shot Durben as opposed to her shooting herself."
O'Grady said that credible evidence had been submitted to show that Durben was not suicidal on July 18, 2009, but had been seeking safety instead, and that Davis' own statements, credibility and demeanor were significant factors in deciding the ultimate issue.
O'Grady found Davis' reported hysterical reactions unbelievable and the fact that he calmed down after being give Narcan despite the fact that there were no drugs in his system suspicious. O'Grady also said that Davis' four different statements and reactions were contrived, minimized conflict between Davis and Durben, and showed that he had manipulated the crime scene by moving the gun on the scene.
In conclusion, O'Grady said that "when the symmetrical bruises on Durben's neck are considered along with the evidence described above, discussed above, including the staging of the death scene, and Davis' contrivances with rescue personnel, his contrivance at the hospital, his contrivance during interviews, and the significant inconsistencies in Davis' statements, I am firmly convinced that Durben did not kill herself. I am firmly convinced, despite the uncertainty in the medical evidence, because I have been able to consider all of the evidence including specifically Davis' own statements. I am firmly convinced that Brian Davis choked Holly Durben and then shot her. The evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that on July 18, 2009, Brian Heath Davis choked, then shot Holly Rae Durben. That Holly Rae Durben died as a result of being choked and shot. That Brian Heath Davis acted with malice aforethought, and that Brian Heath Davis acted willfully, deliberately, premeditatedly and with a specific intent to kill Holly Rae Durben. It is therefore, ordered, adjudged, and decreed that Defendant, Brian Heath Davis is guilty under count I of Murder in the 1st Degree…."
The Judge went on to schedule sentencing for March 4, 2015 at 9 a.m., and ordered that Davis would not be permitted bail and any previously set bail bonds were revoked.
After Court was adjourned Fremont County Attorney Corey Becker stated, "you know law enforcement never closed the book on this investigation. It took nearly six years to get here, but justice has finally been served."
Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope said he'd been confident in the outcome of the trial, explaining, "I knew the system would work." Of his own feelings about the verdict, Aistrope said, "I've been waiting for this for 5 years. Waiting to get closure for the family, and to get closure for Holly."
Tearful family members of Holly Durben praised prosecutors and law enforcement for their continued efforts to bring Durben's killer to justice, and her sister, Heather Richardson shared some statistics on domestic violence and it's potential outcomes with member of the press. Richardson also praised O'Grady's decision, saying, "the Judge gave my sister's death meaning today."