Siler receives life sentence for 2019 murder of Michael Davis in Opp

Published 9:58 am Friday, September 1, 2023

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On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Lex Short sentenced Anthony James “A.J.” Siler Jr., 50, of Opp to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the July 2019 murder of Michael Devone Davis, 44, also of Opp.  Siler was also sentenced to a second term of life imprisonment for his conviction of abuse of a corpse, with Short ordering those sentences to run consecutively to each other.

Michael Devone Davis

Siler’s sentencing followed his convictions in May by a Covington County jury. Assistant District Attorney Nikki Stephens tried the case for the State, together with District Attorney Walt Merrell.

Siler was sentenced under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act, having five prior felony convictions. One of Siler’s prior felonies was for first degree burglary, also a Class A felony, which dictated the life without parole sentence for Davis’ murder. When asked by Judge Short if Siler had anything to say before judgment and sentence was imposed, Siler replied, “No.”

“When you murder someone in the manner Siler did here, there is no other acceptable sentence than a life for a life,” Merrell said. “Siler’s prior convictions speak to his propensity for violence and his disregard for the law.  We are pleased with Judge Short’s sentences, and reiterate our appreciation to the jury that returned these verdicts.”

Anthony James “A.J.” Siler Jr.

“While we certainly can never bring Michael back to his family, I hope they each find some solace knowing A.J. will take his last breaths from within a prison cell. While A.J. has never been remorseful about his actions, he now has the rest of his life to contemplate whether taking Michael’s was worth it to him. A.J. Siler was a coward, and shot Michael merely because he felt threatened and embarrassed by Davis exposing his past,” Stephens said.

The evidence at trial showed that on July 15, 2019, Siler and Davis had multiple interactions at different locations in Opp, each encounter escalating in hostility. Eventually, Davis began discussing his sexual history with Siler in front of others, and Siler became irate, telling a witness that he would kill Davis.

Two eyewitnesses to the murder indicated Siler entered Childre Trailer Park in the early morning hours of July 16, where he swerved his vehicle toward Davis, attempting to hit him. As Davis turned around to approach Siler, Siler quickly exited his vehicle with a loaded shotgun and approached an unarmed Davis. After a brief exchange, Siler fired the gun at point blank range shooting Davis in the neck/upper chest area. Witnesses then testified that Siler instructed one witness to load Davis’ body into the car, making threats to kill that witness for any non-compliance. Siler then drove to New Hope Church Road, where he dumped Davis’ corpse in a marshy pond area. He subsequently abandoned his vehicle at a burnt out house in Opp, attempted to collect evidence at the crime scene, and fled to the Fleeta area. He was arrested the following morning.

Siler was later interviewed by police, wherein he admitted he shot Davis, but claimed self-defense. He first told police Davis approached him with a big “stick,” but later testified at trial that Davis had both a stick and a knife. Siler repeatedly told police his reputation meant “everything” to him, it was most important to him what the “streets” thought about him and he tried hard to deny any past sexual relationship with Davis.

Davis is survived by four siblings and many other family members: sisters, Betty Davis, Vickie Davis, and Sabrina Davis; and a brother, Ricky Davis, collectively shared a statement following sentencing. “We are glad for the closure this brings. Michael was truly loved and is very missed. He is gone, but never forgotten. We send a huge thank you to the DA’s office staff, Nikki and Amber [Gladwell], and anyone out there that had a hand in getting justice for Michael.”

“I’d like to again say thank you to the Opp Police Department, together with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office, Andalusia Police Department, and State Bureau of Investigations, all of whom assisted in the investigation. Also, a special thank you to the Davis family for trusting us to handle this case and find the justice Michael so deserved,” Stephens said.