Where Is Polly Klaas' Murderer, Richard Allen Davis, Now?

Richard Allen Davis is a murderer convicted in 1996 of first-degree murder with special circumstances. Prior to that, he had a long rap sheet dating back to the '70s. As reported by People, Davis had a chaotic childhood, and his parents were physically abusive toward him and his siblings. By the time he was 6 years old, his parents had separated and he went to live with his father in San Francisco. In school, Davis was a quiet kid, but he started exhibiting acts of violence toward animals. Davis started stealing from homes before he was a teenager, and his crimes only escalated as he got older.

When he was 17 years old, Davis was known in town as trouble. A judge gave him the option to join the Army or attend reform school, and he chose the former. Davis was unable to adhere to the strict rules, however, and was discharged after only a year. From then on, Davis was in and out of prison for various offenses.

The murder of Polly Klaas

On October 1, 1993, 12-year-old Polly Klaas and two of her friends were having a sleepover at the Klaas home. Polly's mother was present but retired early for the night due to a migraine. At about 10:30 p.m., a stranger armed with a knife entered Polly's bedroom and asked which girl lived in the house. He told them that he was only there for the money and was not going to harm them (via The FBI Files). The perpetrator tied up Polly's friends and placed pillowcases over their heads before telling them to count to 1,000. He then fled the scene with Polly.

Investigators were immediately called to the scene as soon as Polly's friends were able to free themselves. The abduction of the 12-year-old girl gained national attention, but despite massive efforts to find the abductor and Polly, it would be two months before detectives would find anything. As reported by History, a vehicle was found stuck in the woods and there were also children's clothes found in the area. A trace of the owner led authorities to Richard Allen Davis, and a partial palm print from the crime scene tied him to the abduction. Davis eventually confessed to kidnapping and killing Polly, and he led investigators to the area where he buried her.

Richard Allen Davis' trial and conviction

Richard Allen Davis was charged with murder with special circumstances, and he pleaded not guilty despite his prior confession to the authorities. The jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, burglary, robbery, kidnapping, and attempting to perform a lewd act (via Stanford). During the sentencing, Polly's father became outraged after Davis accused him of molesting Polly, as reported by The New York Times, but his claim was unfounded.

With his own confession and the pieces of evidence stacked against him, it was clear that Davis was guilty. One of the questions that were raised was whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or given the death penalty. As noted by People, Davis' sordid past was also brought up. Davis was sentenced to death in September 1997. During the sentencing, the judge said that it's always difficult and emotional for him to give someone a death sentence, but Davis made it easier with his rash behavior in court.

The Three Strikes Law

After Polly Klaas' murder, her father, Marc Klaas, campaigned for California's Three Strikes Law, which enhances the sentences of convicts who have had prior convictions (via California Courts). At the time of Polly's abduction and murder, Richard Allen Davis had just been out of prison on parole for kidnapping. He was sentenced to prison in 1984 for 16 years but was released after only serving half of his sentence. If he had completed his prison time, he wouldn't have been free to abduct Polly.

Today, as reported by Fox News, several states follow the Three Strikes Law, but the rules vary for each jurisdiction. The basic idea of the law is to look into previous convictions of a person who has committed a serious offense, and if convicted for a third time, the sentence may be increased to more years or even life in prison.

Richard Allen Davis overdosed in prison

In 2006, Richard Allen Davis was discovered by prison guards unconscious inside his cell at the San Quentin State Prison, as reported by SF Gate. Davis was slumped over the toilet and he was immediately brought to the infirmary to be revived before he was transported to a hospital. Doctors reported that there were substantial amounts of opiates in his system but according to a prison official, there was no evidence that it was an attempt to take his own life; they deemed the incident an accidental overdose.

As for how Davis was able to acquire significant amounts of drugs, authorities believe that they may have been brought in by a visitor, sent together with a letter, or given by other inmates. However, there's also the possibility that Davis acquired them from a prison employee. Davis was brought back to San Quentin after treatment and was said to be doing well after the overdose.

Where is Richard Allen Davis today?

Richard Allen Davis has been a death row inmate in San Quentin since his conviction. In 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order suspending the execution of 737 inmates in California, and that included Davis (via Office of the Governor). "The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as Governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual," he stated.

Polly Klaas' father, Marc Klaas, was outraged about Newsom's decision, and in an interview with ABC 7 News, he said the governor was "advocating in behalf of pure evil" and noted that those on death row deserve their fate. Marc has been waiting for Davis' execution since his daughter's abduction and murder. When asked whether he would be present at Davis' execution if it pushes forward, he answered in the affirmative and said he would even bring champagne. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the last person executed in California was Clarence Ray Allen in 2006. As of writing, Davis remains a death row inmate in San Quentin.