The ex-wife of slain UCSB graduate student Jarrod Davidson maintained that she had no role in his murder, pleading not guilty to two felony counts at her arraignment Monday.
Kelee Davidson, 26, of Oceano, Calif., joined her parents in the Santa Barbara County Jail on April 14, making her the third suspect to be arrested and charged with Jarrod Davidson’s murder. Her mother and father, MaLinda and Philip Jones, were arrested in January and have remained in police custody without bail for the duration of the case. All three suspects have now pled not guilty to felony charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Joe Allen, Kelee Davidson’s attorney, said a hearing will be held Friday afternoon to determine whether she qualifies for bail, and to review MaLinda Jones’ bail eligibility. Allen said Judge Frank Ochoa — the fourth judge to preside over the case, the previous three having been removed by the defense and prosecution for unspecified reasons — will also rule on a motion to place a gag order on the case at the hearing.
At this early stage in the case, Allen said, he has not seen any of the reports from those who investigated the case, although he said he does not believe that the prosecution has a strong basis for the charges it has filed against Kelee Davidson.
“There doesn’t appear to be any direct evidence against Ms. Davidson at all,” Allen said. “The theory is that there was a conspiracy between Kelee and the Joneses, but I haven’t seen anything that implicates her.”
At Friday’s hearing, Allen said Ochoa will also be working with the prosecution and defense to establish a tentative schedule for the rest of the case, which may be complicated by the state of Philip Jones’s health.
“One very serious problem is that Mr. Jones has been diagnosed with terminal cancer,” Allen said. “His medical problems are one of the things we are going to be looking at at the hearing Friday.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Darryl Perlin said the defense has pushed for the court not to require Philip Jones to be in the courtroom for future proceedings due to his illness.
“The court will make a determination as to whether Philip Jones must appear in court for the remainder of the proceedings,” Perlin said.
Public Defender James Egar, who is representing Philip Jones in the case, could not be reached for comment.