At the direction of Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, prosecutors have filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Stephanie M. Davis and Thomas J. Desharnais if the defendants are convicted of first-degree murder.
On Feb. 7, a Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted Davis and Desharnais on 11 felony counts, including first-degree murder, child abuse, and tampering with evidence.
The charges stem from events that occurred between Aug. 1, 2019, and Jan. 30, 2022, where it is alleged that Davis and Deharnais inflicted bodily harm in an especially heinous or depraved manner to a minor under their care.
On Jan. 31, the Scottsdale Police Department responded to the Extended Stay America hotel in Old Town Scottsdale for a medical call regarding an 11-year-old male who was not breathing and unresponsive, Independent archives show.
Police and fire responders attempted life saving measures, and the child was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
At that time, police officials said due to significant injuries of the victim, Scottsdale detectives responded and began an investigation. Detectives reportedly discovered a second young male child under the care of the defendants — the biological grandmother of both children and her husband.
Department of Child Services responded and took custody of the young child, police said.
“As a community, it is our responsibility to protect and care for the most vulnerable in society, and this includes children. The protection of children has always been a top priority for me. This child’s suffering and death must be addressed and those responsible held accountable,” said County Attorney Rachel Mitchell. “Seeking justice for this young boy whose life was cut short in an especially heinous matter is what prosecutors are called to do.”
A charge of a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.