GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – Donald Davidson Jr., a sexual predator convicted of murder in the 2014 killing of Roseann Welsh and sexual battery of her 10-year-old daughter, will be sentenced by a judge in Clay County court later this month.
Davidson waived his right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder, attempted sexual battery of a victim over 12 years old, four counts of sexual battery on a victim under 12, lewd or lascivious molestation, kidnapping and grand theft auto.
On Monday morning, the medical examiner, Dr. Valerie Rao, testified about how Welsh died. The sentencing hearing will resume June 24 before Circuit Judge Don Lester, who will then decide if Davidson will be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison.
When arrested, Davidson already had a long criminal history and was a convicted sexual predator. In 2005, Davidson was convicted of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of 12, and he also has priors convictions for aggravated battery, sexual battery and theft.
Investigators said Davidson cut off his GPS monitor while on controlled release from prison when he strangled, stabbed and killed Welsh in her Middleburg home. After killing Welsh (pictured, right), investigators said Davidson stole her minivan, kidnapped her 10-year-old daughter and sexually assaulted her. He let her go and she managed to get home.
The victim’s son returned home several hours later but was locked out and told by Davidson, a boyhood friend of Welsh's husband, that his mother was not home. When the boy returned home later, he found his mother dead on the bathroom floor, and her van and his younger sister gone.
"I was one of the detectives in this case and it still brings me to tears to think about that day and the interview with her poor son," Clay County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chris Padgett said. "He knew he’d never see his mother again and felt as though he should have done more for her and his sister."
After an extensive manhunt, Davidson was arrested driving on Blanding Boulevard. A search revealed the knife used in the crime and Davidson admitted to planning and attempting to sexually assault the woman in her home.
Davidson was one of dozens of sexual predators living within walking distance of the Middleburg home where he killed Welsh and abducting her daughter.