November 13, 2023 – Charlotte County, FL
A Charlotte County cold case from 1990 has been closed following the death of the man who was indicted by a Grand Jury for the murder of Sharon Gill.
On November 3, 2023, the State Attorney’s Office filed an order with the circuit court to drop charges on Roland T. Davis, Sr. (70), after the defendant died from a medical condition on July 8, 2023. Davis was on death row awaiting execution in the Chillicothe Correctional Institute in Ross County, Ohio for a separate murder charge.
Davis was indicted by a Charlotte County, Florida Grand Jury on August 3, 2022, for the March 21, 1990 stabbing death of Sharon Marie Gill (42). Sharon’s body was found in her master bathroom by her daughter, Krista, and had been stabbed 39 times.
Davis was convicted and sentenced to death in Ohio in 2005 for the 2000 stabbing murder of Elizabeth Sheeler (86). In Ohio, Davis was a cab driver and provided cab service to Ms. Sheeler on several occasions. He was found guilty of killing Ms. Sheeler in her home in Newark, Ohio after DNA discovered at the scene was linked to Davis. His DNA profile was found in the Combined DNA Index System (called “CODIS”), from a felony conviction in a 1991 dealing in stolen property case from Charlotte County, Florida.
As DNA science progressed, Cold Case Detective Mike Vogel continued to re-submit evidence the team knew or suspected Sharon Gill’s killer had touched.
Elyssa Trautmann, Crime Laboratory Analyst of the Tampa office of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement – Biology Section, extracted male DNA from a towel that was recovered from the crime scene near Gill’s feet, which contained the victim’s blood. Through investigative techniques, the Charlotte County Cold Case Team was able to determine that the killer had touched this towel. On October 16, 2020, Trautmann received a positive hit from CODIS and notified the Cold Case Team.
Roland T. Davis, Sr. was not identified anywhere in the original case file of Gill’s murder. Cold Case Detective Kurt Mehl recalled a company identified in the investigative file as “Davis Landscaping”, a company that did landscaping at the Gill Home in December 1989. Follow-up investigation revealed Roland T. Davis, Sr. did work part time for Davis Landscaping and was the owner’s brother. Original detectives interviewed the managers of Davis Landscaping and identified and interviewed the workers they were told worked on the Gill home. Davis, Sr. was not included in the list the original detectives were provided.
The Cold Case Team located a former worker and asked directly about Davis. The team discovered Roland T. Davis Sr. had worked on the Gill home a couple of days and the manager was unaware that he had worked those days.
After learning his identity, Detectives Mike Vogel and Kurt Mehl interviewed Davis in the Chillicothe Correctional Institute. Davis denied the murder but acknowledged he did work on the landscaping at the Gill home. He denied ever entering the house or receiving any towels or anything at all from the home. He said they brought their own supplies, including rags.
While conducting a background investigation on Davis, the Cold Case Team discovered Davis was living in other counties in Florida from the 1970s until the early 2000s. Davis also traveled back and forth from Florida to Ohio during those times. Further research revealed several unsolved homicides of females in areas Davis lived, worked, and traveled in that period. The agencies investigating those cases were provided with the information uncovered by the Charlotte County Cold Case Team.
“As this case closes, I want to again express my sympathies to the family of Sharon Gill. I hope that this closure allows them to move forward and honor the memory of the beautiful soul that was taken from them. I also want to thank my Cold Case Unit for their unwavering perseverance in this case that led us to the killer.”Sheriff Bill Prummell
Although this case is closed, the Charlotte County Cold Case Team will continue to assist other agencies as needed with any open homicide that could be related to Davis, Sr.