Tip leads to arrest in murder-for-hire plot

Crime & Safety

PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s something investigators in one town say they haven’t seen or heard of in 30 years: a murder-for-hire plot that landed one man in jail.

“We were told that Mark Clayton Davis wished to have a family member assassinated,” said Lt. Dale Sylvester of the Port Wentworth Police Department.

That’s the tip that started the investigation last week.

“I believe it was a recent act, due to recent civil issues within the family,” explains Sylvester. “We believe it was a recent act to have the subject removed.”

Removed, or in other words, killed.

“I initially had total disbelief in it,” said the lieutenant. “Things like this don’t seem to happen in this area.”

Port Wentworth Police quickly found out it can happen and that Davis allegedly wanted it to happen soon.

“The statements were just so clear, precise and eerie, we said ‘OK, this is for real,'” said Sylvester.

So investigators took it seriously. They started surveillance on the 60-year-old owner of Phoenix Transport.

Detectives believe it stemmed from Davis’ pending divorce from his wife, Sherry.

“He was very serious. He was very sincere in his actions,” said Sylvester, adding that he was surprised by that.

“Why would you go this extent for a civil proceeding?” he wondered.

The police department enlisted the help of an undercover officer from the Savannah-Chatham Counter Narcotics Team to help with the operation and see how far Davis was willing to go.

“You felt he absolutely was sincere that he wanted to get this done?” News 3 asked.

“Absolutely,” said Sylvester. “No doubt in my mind.”

Apparently, he was serious. Investigators were able to get video and audio recordings of his desires and the thousands of dollars they say he was willing to pay to get the deed done.

“When the details come to light, I believe folks will be surprised at what they hear,” Sylvester said.

It is a type of case that the cop hasn’t seen in three decades on the force — and one he hopes to never see again.

“If someone out there is actually thinking of doing something like this?” News asked.

When asked what his advice would be to someone thinking of committing a similar crime, Sylvester said “don’t.”

“Sooner or later someone will talk and you will go to jail,” he added.

Davis is facing conspiracy and criminal attempt to commit murder charges. He had a hearing Friday, but no bond was discussed. Davis will be back in front of a Superior Court judge next week.

Despite the seriousness of the charges, if he is convicted, Davis would only spend one to 10 years in prison.

The investigation continues bit Port Wentworth Police don’t believe any more arrests will be made in this case.

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