- Associated Press - Monday, September 10, 2012

CARROLLTON, Texas (AP) — A Texas man has been charged with murder in the death of a 16-year-old girl who police said they believe was killed to keep her from testifying at the man’s upcoming sexual assault trial.

Police in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton say Franklin B. Davis, 30, of Irving, Texas, was charged with capital murder Sunday after confessing to the death of Shania Gray. Miss Gray was last seen alive Thursday afternoon at Hebron High School in Carrollton. Her body was found Saturday in a secluded area near the Trinity River.

Carrollton police spokesman Jon Stovall told the Associated Press in an email that police believe Mr. Davis killed Miss Gray because she was about to testify against him.

A spokeswoman for Miss Gray’s family, Sherry Ramsey, said Miss Gray met Mr. Davis when she babysat his two children. Ms. Ramsey said that later, after the teen declined many requests to babysit, Miss Gray told her grandmother that Mr. Davis had raped her.

The crime was reported to Mesquite police, and Mr. Davis was charged with four counts of sexual assault of a child.

Ms. Ramsey said Mr. Davis had warned Miss Gray he would kill her if she told anyone about the assault.

According to an arrest warrant, Mr. Davis contacted Miss Gray through a social media site and pretended to be someone else in an attempt to get information about the sexual assault case. Mr. Davis then used a prepaid cellphone to set up a meeting with Miss Gray at her high school on Thursday.

Mr. Davis told authorities that Miss Gray was surprised to see him but got into his car when he told her he wanted to talk to her about the sexual assault case.

He said he then drove her to the remote area. He told authorities she partially fell into the river after he shot her twice and asked, “Why, Wish?” — a nickname that Mr. Davis used. Mr. Davis then stepped on her neck until she stopped breathing, according to the arrest warrant.

“It’s our understanding that Shania was killed within the hour when she was picked up from school,” Mr. Stovall said.

Mr. Davis was being held Monday morning in the Dallas County jail on $2 million bond. An attorney listed for him did not immediately return a call from the Associated Press.