CENTERVILLE -- The man accused of killing a Cedar Falls deer hunter was a “prepper,” his father testified at the first-degree murder of Ethan Davis this week.
Davis, 27, is charged with killing Curtis Ross, 31, on public hunting ground near Rathbun Lake on Nov. 24, 2017.
A jury took up the case Thursday afternoon but went home without reaching a verdict.
Jamison Davis described numerous guns his son bought over the years. Ethan Davis, 27, had more than one AR-15 style weapon. Prosecutors showed jurors a weapon of that type the state alleges killed Ross.
Ethan Davis was a survivalist prepared for self-reliance in case of emergencies or disruptions in society, his father said.
“His hobby — I think the proper term — was being a prepper,” Jamison testified Monday.
Firearms were located “everywhere,” Jamison Davis said. Ethan Davis stored them on the family farm as well as in his vehicles.
Ethan Davis and his friends would go target shooting, keeping the fired shell casings to reload later.
Asked if specific ammunition belonged to Ethan Davis, the father said he couldn’t be sure.
“Even though my son is big into ammunition and guns and firearms, I wasn’t. I didn’t pay much attention to it,” Jamison Davis said.
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On the morning of Nov. 22, 2017, Jamison said his son was working in Centerville at a “fixer-upper” project. He worked there until the mid- to late-afternoon hours.
He wasn’t at Thanksgiving the following day, though that didn’t surprise his father. Given the venue of the dinner and past disagreements with family members who would be attending, his father didn’t anticipate Ethan would be present.
The next morning he saw Ethan at home in between farming chores.
Jamison was getting cattle ready for a sale and asked if his son could assist. Ethan replied he had an errand to run and would be back shortly.
Jamison testified he assumed Ethan meant he needed to go get cigarettes in Seymour, a common morning errand.
Ethan ended up at a residence his ex-girlfriend was at with their young child. Ethan took the child from the residence to a friend's place. He faces separate charges in that incident.
Jamison learned of the incident later that day through his wife and Ethan’s mother. It was nearly 30 hours before Ethan would re-appear at his home.
The disappearance wasn’t uncommon for his son.
“It’s been his demeanor since he was a child,” Jamison said. “If something in life was going astray for him, or wasn’t going his way, it may be a few minutes or it may be part of a day, he would go to his room, go outside, go somewhere and be by himself and then come back.”