GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Hendersonville teen charged with killing his mother with a sledgehammer last summer and setting fire to the family’s home was arraigned Friday morning in Sumner County court.
Fifteen-year old Zachary Davis shuffled into the courtroom shackled, silent and expressionless.
The only sound that came from him was the clanking of chains wrapped around his ankles.
Judge Dee David Gay then asked him a few short questions.
“How are you today? Are you Okay?” he asked the teen.
“Yes, sir,” Davis responded in a deep, guttural tone.
“How long have you been in custody?” the judge continued.
“About two months,” answered Davis, who was in gray striped jail fatigues.
His lawyer Randy Lucas then asked the judge to waive reading the charges.
The judge did so and Lucas entered a not guilty plea on all of the counts against his client.
Until Friday, the teen accused of the gruesome crime had only been seen in jail mug shots.
Police said Davis beat his mother to death with a sledgehammer as she slept on the night of August 10 and then set the family’s house on fire.
His brother, who was also sleeping at the time, escaped unharmed.
At the time of his arrest, Davis was found with a letter in which he confessed to killing his mother and leaving his brother to burn in the fire.
In court Friday the teen’s lawyer asked the judge to grant a motion for further mental evaluation to determine if Davis is competent to stand trial.
Prosecutors did not raise any objection so Judge Gay granted the motion.
Davis is scheduled to be back in court on January 17 with the results of the mental evaluation.
After the arraignment, Lucas told Nashville’s News 2 his client “is doing about a well as can be expected.”
Davis’ mother, 46-six-year-old Melanie Davis, a native of Austria, was raising her two teenage boys alone after her husband died of Lou Gehrig’s disease a few years ago.