Charges against Davenport dropped ‘I just want to get on with my life’

Published 12:04 pm Friday, February 4, 2011

Dane Davenport is resuming his life as a free man after criminal charges pending against him for more than three years were dismissed Thursday by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Terms of the dismissal mean that Davenport, 48, cannot be prosecuted further on child sexual abuse charges remaining from a 2008 grand jury indictment for which he has faced multiple trials.

“The Lord has blessed me today,” Davenport said Thursday afternoon, after Warren County Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick signed the Order of Dismissal. “I just want to get on with my life. I hope and pray that everybody else involved in this case can do the same.”

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The order cites “the best interest of the victims that this matter not be prosecuted any further,” and is signed by Brandon Ogburn, special assistant attorney general, who was the lead prosecutor in the case.

“The victims have requested that we dismiss the charges and we are following their wishes in doing so,” Attorney General Jim Hood said in a written statement.

“They have been through enough and are ready to move on,” it said.

“We’re very pleased that the criminal litigation is over,” said Davenport’s lead attorney, John Zelbst of Lawton, Okla. “This is a case that has destroyed two families, in a lot of ways, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work to put it back together.”

Davenport was indicted on four counts of sexual battery of a child younger than 14 and five counts of fondling a child younger than 16, accusations involving two brothers dating to 1999.

He was also charged in Oktibbeha County on one count involving one of the brothers and was acquitted of that charge in a February 2009 trial.

In March, a Warren County jury acquitted him of all sexual battery charges and one of the fondling charges, leaving the remaining four open.

The Attorney General’s Office had said as recently as a few weeks ago that Davenport would be tried a third time.

His first trial in Warren County, held in September 2008, was declared a mistrial when jurors were unable to reach a verdict.

Thursday’s action dropped the remainder of the fondling charges.

“I have been humbled by the reports I’ve received of people in the community supporting me and praying for me,” Davenport said. “My family and my friends, and even people I didn’t know showing me love and support.”

He said the ordeal was not without its blessings, especially in renewed and closer relationships with family and friends.

“God has done some wonderful things through this,” he said.

Davenport is a veteran of more than 20 years with the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, and achieved the rank of master sergeant. He was a district supervisor who oversaw the Vicksburg driver’s licensing office and other offices, he said, when the accusations led to him being placed on unpaid administrative leave.

He said he plans to go back to work at MHSP as soon as possible.

“The highway patrol has been good to me ever since I’ve been working for them,” Davenport said.