Great Falls Tribune from Great Falls, Montana on April 3, 2005 · Page 5
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Great Falls Tribune from Great Falls, Montana · Page 5

Great Falls, Montana
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 3, 2005
Page 5
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Sunday, April 3, 2005 GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE WWW.GREATFALLSTRIBUNE.COM Page 5, Section A Family Online Extra: To read the entire open letter from Delnita Davis, visit convinced officer could solve case i iimiujt iiuim ii milium n iiimihimi,!!. .. i tmTlfiff-mWfmiliaW " i lii By KIM SKORNOGOSKI Tribune Staff Writer Officer John Cameron made a name for himself investigating old murders. When he retired from the Great Falls Police Department last month, one case remained on his list: the 1985 murder of Morris Davis. Between 1997 and 2001, Cameron teamed with other detectives to investigate unsolved murders dating back as far as 1964. Arrests were made in four of the seven cases. During his investigations, Cameron spoke several times with Delnita Davis, mother of the murder victim. "He kept saying, we're going to get to yours," she said. As the 20th anniversary of that murder approaches April 5, Cameron, who now works as the sign code enforcer for the city of Great Falls, said his investigations did lead him to a suspect, one he isn't naming publicly. "There was a very strong suspect who was willing to cooperate regarding that case," he said. Morris Davis delivered pizza to an abandoned house. He was shot repeatedly and robbed of what little money was in the change bag. Cameron said he wrote a letter in 2003 to the. suspect, who is serving a life sentence for murder, asking for help bringing closure in the pizza man case. Interested in moving to another prison, the man wrote back saying he was willing to talk about it. Cameron retired from the department in April 2003, only to return four months later. This time he was stationed in patrol instead of detectives. After he got the letter from the suspect, Cameron brought the information to the detectives division. Since March 2000, Sgt. Larry Brooks has been on the Morris Davis case. In that time he's followed dozens of tips, talked to people in jails, the state mental hospital and pre-release centers. A few months ago, he re-examined all of the physical evidence in the case. Hearing Cameron's lead, Brooks wrote two letters to the suspect in prison. Dubious of the suspect's motives, Brooks said the man seemed to want something in return for his help on the case. "This case is so fragmented," Brooks said. "You have 20 people named at 20 different times. We can't give information about (Cameron's suspect) any more credibility than any of the other 20 people named as suspects. Tou can only do so much," he said. "He's a person of interest; I wouldn't even call him a suspect." Cameron lists several things that make it worth digging into the man as a suspect. When FBI profilers looked at the Morris Davis case, they suggested it could be tied to another murder the one Cameron's suspect was convicted of. Working another case, Cameron recorded phone calls from jail where the suspect was trying to line up an alibi. The person who was helping the man at times thought the alibi was needed for Morris Davis' murder. Traffic tickets place the suspect in Great Falls before and after Davis' murder, he said. The biggest link may be the .22 caliber weapon used to kill Morris Davis. "He did a robbery just before (Davis' murder) in Browning and shot a guy with a similar weapon," Cameron said. . If detectives are unaware of these clues, they're looking in the wrong place, he said. Lt. Jere Carpenter, who heads detectives, says there's no credible link between the Davis case and Cameron's suspect. He questions why Cameron didn't follow it if it was such a good lead. "If that's true, why didn't he come to me and say 'I can't get to it, but here's what I have?' " Carpenter said. "I did. I pursued it as far as I could," Cameron countered. "I really wanted to run with that. I'd only been back to work for three months. They shut me down." Though he's had several public successes as a cold-case investigator, Cameron's approach has at times ruffled feathers in the department. Defense attorneys repeatedly have attacked tr xti., Sat., SHRIMP PEEL ULM 866-3241 (local) Si Enterprise Electric, Inc. BURGLAR & FIRE ALARMS WITH 24 HOUR MONITORING Starting as low as $700 Installed - monitoring seperateS18mo. FREE ESTIMATESCASCADE CO. Commercial - Residential BONDED & LICENSED 1967 761-3830 1 A24 HAVSWCRFATFAItV There was a very strong suspect who was willing to cooperate regarding that case. Great Falls police officer John Cameron Cameron would solve this, if he has time. I really think he's capable of solving this. Father Morris Davis Sr. Cameron as being too focused on his suspects, ignoring other scenarios. Now that he's left the depart- 99 ment again, his only authority in the investigation is to armchair quarterback. The Davis family regularly talks with Cameron. They pin their hopes on him solving the case. "Cameron would solve this, if he has time," father Morris Davis Sr. said. "I really think he's capable of solving this." "What's it going to hurt to check it out?" Delnita Davis asked of Cameron's leads. "It could be what they're looking for." Reach Tribune Staff Writer Kim Skornogoski by calling 791-6574, (800) 438-6600, or e-mail her at WALU W ALIA lo karri nunc about the fullv taxnrJirwJ Mitster of Sotwl Work prosram ItnttfL-ti in Mi tula or Btlhnw, Montana, pUaw join u for an informa-Uonal, Q & A mct-iittK ot cull us rhe number listed below AREAS OF STUDY FOCUS C hildren mid Families ( In Id Welfare Health Mental Health Add ic lions Sctiool Social Work Aging DISTINCTIVE FEATURES Clinieul Concentration Spiritual Environment (wo lays Per Week NoCKF. 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