Charges against woman accused of killing boyfriend with her car held for higher court
When Vanessa Lorson first saw the lifeless body of her friend, Luke Beatty, in the middle of his driveway on Route 14 during the early morning hours on Aug. 25, she got down next to him and tried to find a pulse, according to testimony during the preliminary hearing of the 25-year-old’s girlfriend.
“He didn’t move. I reached down and he was cold. I lifted his head up. I checked his neck and got a faint pulse,” Lorson testified. “I took him by his cheeks to get him to look at me.”
Beatty, of 4736 Route 14, in Lewis Township, did not survive and was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force trauma injuries to his neck and abdomen, according to state police investigators.
Within hours, police charged Beatty’s girlfriend, Fallon Mae Davis, 21, of Morris, with murder in the third degree and related charges for allegedly running him over twice following a heated argument at Beatty’s home.
Lorson was one of three witnesses to take the stand Tuesday during Davis’ hearing, held at the county courthouse in a courtroom that was packed with friends and members of Beatty’s and Davis’ families.
Some in the courtroom knew both Beatty and Davis.
After hearing nearly 90 minutes of testimony, District Judge William Solomon ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold Davis on charges of third- degree murder and involuntary manslaughter
At the start of the hearing, the district attorney’s office withdrew charges of homicide by vehicle and aggravated assault by vehicle.
Hours before his death, Beatty, along with Davis, Lorson and Jason Garg had been together enjoying drinks and music at two city establishments.
On the stand, Lorson recalled a brief heated exchange she heard between Beatty and Davis while the couples were out together.
“If you feel the need to look at other people, you can just go,” Lorson quoted Beatty telling Davis.
However, according to Lorson’s testimony, Davis fired back “No, you move on.”
“Following drinks, the two couples separated and headed home,” police said in an affidavit.
Shortly before 2 a.m., Lorson received a frantic telephone call from Davis, who told her that Beatty tried to hit her with a shovel.
“She was crying. She was hysterical,” Lorson testified in describing Davis’ emotional state. Davis asked Lorson to come get her.
Lorson and Garg drove to Beatty’s home, where they found Davis sitting in the driver’s seat of her Volkswagen at the end of Beatty’s long driveway. Davis was just wearing underwear and a bra. Lorson tried to calm her friend down.
“I ran down (the driveway) to get her stuff,” Lorson said, adding she assumed Davis had other personal belongings in Beatty’s bedroom.
As she made her way up the driveway, she saw Beatty on the ground, police said.
There was an outdoor motion-detector light on the house that when activated by any movement, would light up most of the driveway.
Moments later, Davis made her way up the driveway and got out of her car after parking the vehicle off to the side in a spacious lot outside the house.
“She bent down in the gravel to hold him,” Lorson said, adding that Davis cradled Beatty in her arms.
“She was rocking him and said ‘Why, why? I didn’t do anything. Why did this happen,’ “ Lorson said, quoting Davis’ remarks on the stand.
Lorson dialed 911, but Beatty already was dead when emergency medical technicians arrived at the scene.
Also taking the stand were Troopers Daniel Switzer, the lead investigator in the case, and Russel Ramin, who helped process and document evidence at the scene.
When Switzer reached the scene, Davis was in an ambulance being evaluated by emergency medical technicians.
“She was very hysterical and made comments about wanting to harm herself,” Switzer said in describing Davis during his first, very brief, interview with her.
Switzer testified that upon examining Davis’ car and Beatty’s body, there was clear evidence that the victim had been run over by the vehicle. There were tire marks leading up to and on Beatty’s body, he said.
Investigators allege that Davis first struck Beatty with the front of her car and then backed up over him when she couldn’t get her car over the body.
After she was cleared medically, Davis was released to police who questioned her extensively at the state police barracks in Montoursville.
Davis was not consistent with her stories, Switzer testified.
“There were several inconsistencies in her statements,” the trooper said, adding that Davis gave “three different versions” to what happened.
Davis and Beatty had been dating for about six months, Switzer said Davis told her.
“She told me ‘I don’t know why he would do this.’ She alluded to him committing suicide,” Switzer said.
“She said Beatty had threatened suicide with a gun during an argument that occurred weeks ago,” he added.
“The two went to Williamsport for dinner and drinks. Beatty made derogatory statements (about Davis that upset her),” the investigator said he was told.
“One story she told me was that they were fighting in the car on the way home. Then she told me they were not fighting,” Switzer said.
There apparently was an argument in Beatty’s home in which Davis claimed Beatty threw her on a bed. Switzer testified that Davis told him she just wanted to leave (the house), to “de-escalate the situation,” the trooper said.
Davis told investigators that as she was fleeing the property in her vehicle, she thought she hit either a stick, a log or a block that Beatty had thrown under the car.
Davis is being held without bail at the Lycoming County Prison.