Murder Comes Knocking

A gift lures an unsuspecting dad to his death

Kelee was immediately brought in for questioning. "I told her during the course of the interview that he had been murdered," remembers Sorenson. "She didn't show a lot of emotion. Wasn't until we had mentioned to her how we were suspicious of the way she reacted to us that she started to cry."

While she may have had the motive to commit murder, Kelee also had a strong alibi for that night, telling detectives she was with her daughter and a friend about 90 miles from Jarrod's apartment.

Her story checked out, but investigators weren't convinced that Kelee was entirely innocent. Finally, the big break they desperately needed came thanks to, of all things, the potted plant that had been found at the crime scene.

Detectives believed someone had knocked on the door to deliver the plant as a gift and lure Jarrod outside; police discovered the plant had been purchased at a nearby store just minutes before the murder.

Police had gotten a video surveillance tape from the store, showing a disguised person buying the plant. "She's wearing a baseball cap, a large baggy sweatshirt," says Sorenson.

That was the same description of the female seen leaving Jarrod's apartment complex just after the shooting. "It looked like Kelee Davidson. The person appeared to be the same size, same build and walked similar to her," says Sorenson.

But Kelee did have that alibi. The investigation was just beginning and it would take nearly five months for detectives to realize this case was anything but simple.

Sorenson thought there was more than just the store surveillance video that could link Kelee to her ex-husband's murder.

Detectives were convinced that the gift card in that plant that was found outside of Jarrod's apartment had his name purposely misspelled. "It looked like the person was trying to disguise their handwriting and disguise their true knowledge of his name," says Sorenson.

That's all a good theory, but it wasn't hard evidence which this case badly needed if there was ever going to be an arrest. Finally, five months after Jarrod's murder, detectives got another big break and once again, the potted plant would play a pivotal role. But this time, it was from the plastic card holder that was in the plant, found near Jarrod's body.

A state crime lab discovered female DNA on that card holder, apparently from someone's hands. And Det. Sorenson felt pretty sure he knew whose DNA was on the cardholder; police immediately went to Kelee Davison with a search warrant for her DNA.

In trying to build a case against Kelee, detectives also decided to focus on her relationship with her parents, Phil and Mindy Jones.

Kelee said she was "extremely" close to her parents, and that she discussed "everything" with them. Investigators quickly determined that Kelee didn't make a move without consulting her parents, especially her mother.

Phil and Mindy Jones actively supported their daughter in her visitation and custody fight with Jarrod. "These are people that you're either with us or you're against us," Sorenson claims. "And God forbid you be against them!"

It became a long and ugly court battle. And Kelee's parents clearly saw Jarrod as being against them. "Well, the arrangement was that he would pick Malia up at Kelee's apartment. But because Kelee worked late then he would have to drop her off to Mindy and Phil. Early on, they would call him names," says Richard.

Richard says they didn't say the names to Jarrod's face but Malia's. "She'd take Malia out of the car and say, 'Your daddy's an a--h---!'" he says.

Sometimes, weeks would go by and Jarrod would be kept from seeing his child.

"They started attacking me in the courtroom saying that I wasn't cooperating, that I was doing everything that I could to be vindictive and take her away from him," says Kelee, who didn't see it that way.

But a judge apparently did: in court documents, a judge condemned Kelee's ongoing refusal to allow Jarrod to see his daughter. The judge questioned Kelee's honesty and her respect for court orders, strongly suggesting that if she continued to deny Jarrod visitation, Kelee could actually lose custody of Malia altogether.

"Jarrod Davidson was going to go back to court to try to get full custody of that girl," says Sorenson. "And that is the last thing they wanted to have happen."

"They wanted him out of their lives. They wanted him out of the picture," the detective claims.

Just 19 days before that hearing, Jarrod was murdered.