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'Newhall Incident' killer found dead in cell

Death of man convicted in 'Newhall Incident' is being investigated as a suicide, officials say

Posted: August 17, 2009 9:13 p.m.
Updated: August 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Bobby Davis, 67, was found dead in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison on Sunday. Davis was convicted in the Newhall Incident shooting, during which four California Highway Patrol officers were gunned down.

 
The man convicted in the infamous 1970 Newhall Incident, during which four California Highway Patrol officers were gunned down, has been found dead in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison, officials said Monday.

The death of Bobby Augusta Davis, who was 67, is being investigated as a suicide, according to state prison officials.

Davis was found dead in his cell Sunday.

The Newhall Incident on April 5, 1970, unfolded when Davis and Jack Twinning were pulled over by Roger Gore and Walt Frago in a gas station parking lot on what is now the intersection of the Old Road and Magic Mountain Parkway.

Twinning fired the first shot, striking Frago. Davis shot and killed Gore just before CHP officers George Alleyn and James "Skip" Pence arrived to support the first two officers.

Davis shot Alleyn from behind with a shotgun. Twinning shot and killed Pence execution-style.

The killers fled the scene and barricaded themselves inside a nearby house.

Twinning escaped justice when he committed suicide inside the barricaded home.

Davis was captured, tried and convicted. He received the death penalty for his participation in the murders.

In 1972, Davis' sentence was commuted to four life sentences to be served consecutively after the California Supreme Court ruled the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the state constitution.

Davis had been housed at Kern Valley Prison since Aug. 8, 2008, in a maximum-security facility. He did not have a cellmate.

Kern Valley Prison is working closely with the Kern County Coroner's Office in the investigation, according to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The Newhall Incident marked the CHP forever, CHP Officer John Lutz said during a 39th anniversary ceremony of the event held earlier this year.
New training techniques for high-risk traffic stops were implemented to improve officer safety, he said.

For safety reason the CHP doesn't publicly discuss tactics, he added.

The Newhall Incident helped reshape the Santa Clarita Valley, said Pat Saletore, Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society executive director.

The slaying of the four CHP officers shattered the perception of the Santa Clarita Valley as a sleepy little community.

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