Charlotte County FL – After more than 30-years, the murder of former Brantford pastor has been solved. That, according to a video statement released by Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit, Monday.
Thanks to advancements in DNA profiling and a newly created nationwide database of convicted felons, Cold Case police investigators in Deep Creek Florida have cracked the disturbing case.
Charged for the murder is Rolland Thomas Davis Sr., now 68 years of age. He was part of the landscaping crew hired by the Gills to make ready for the family to move in.
Davis is currently on death row in Ohio for the 2000 murder of an 86-year-old retired nurse. It was the data base that found the match. After several interviews with the suspect as well as those who knew him, it was clear that Davis was the man they have been looking for three decades.
The elderly woman was stabbed to death and, according to police spokesperson, certain circumstances of the murder were similar to that of Gill. But it was the latest in DNA testing and matching that finally closed the case.
In the late 1980’s, Brantford pastors Percy Gill and his wife Sharon served the Grand Valley Church community in the city’s north end, across from North Ridge Golf Course. They eventually left to follow a job opportunity at a much larger church in Detroit.
After a few years pastoring in Detroit, he was asked to serve at a church in Florida. Percy’s family went ahead to start settling the family in their new Deep Creek, Florida home while Percy stayed in Detroit for a time to transition in a new pastor to take his place.
He was to join them in a matter of weeks, but the Gills would not get a chance to enjoy the Florida sun and an exciting new chapter in their service to God.
Wed. Mar 21st, 1990, while home alone, Sharon was stabbed multiple times and viciously raped in her home on Rampart Blvd. in Deep Creek, Florida.
When Sharon’s 17-year-old daughter Krista returned home from school she found her mother brutally murdered and laying in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor.
After routine DNA tests of all family members produced no leads, police looked at who else was living or working in the otherwise quiet suburb. Police soon came up with a suspect.
“There was one very strong suspect, Shawn Edward Malsky,” said police investigating the case. “Malsky was living at his grandparents house in the same neighbourhood at the time.”
He was eventually arrested for the murder and rape of Gill, but they could not make the charges stick because of a credible alibi which saved Malsky from prison, and he was set free.
Forensics were not as developed as they are now and although police were sure they had their man, there was not enough evidence to prove it in court.
Armed with major breakthroughs in DNA and other crime study advancements, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit reopened the case last October into who killed Sharon Gill and that led to Davis Sr. being charged.
A report from the sharifs office at the time stated, “Sharon was found partially nude, stabbed multiple times, laying in a pool of blood on the master bathroom floor of her residence.”
The investigation showed that Sharon was on the phone with a travel agent when she heard a knock on the door and told the agent she thought that the landscapers were there and ended the call.
“You can imagine what Krista, her daughter felt when she walked into that house and found her mother that way,” Police investigators said at the time.
Daughter Krista commented on the latest investigation saying, “I want this to come to rest. I want to be able to say that this cold case of my mom is finally closed.”
She and the rest of their family can now move on, thanks to modern science and the tenacity of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit.