Brian Framstead was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the killing of Tammy Davis of Stanton, his former girlfriend and the mother of his child, after she ended their stormy relationship.
Framstead, 30, of Inglewood, who drove into the desert and set himself on fire after the killing, took a deep breath as the clerk read the words that could imprison him for 30 years to life: guilty of using a firearm in a premeditated murder.
Davis’ mother and father wept silently as the verdict was read. Her 15-year-old brother held their hands. Framstead’s mother, two rows away, shut her eyes tightly and fought tears. As marshals led her son from the courtroom, she called: “I love you.”
The tension that has swelled between the two families boiled over as Jackie Framstead of Lake Elsinore brushed by Davis’ mother, Debbie Armantrout of Westminster, on her way out of the courtroom and muttered, “Bitch.” Armantrout’s friends and family circled protectively around her. Courtroom marshals hovered nearby.
Moments later, her eyes red, Armantrout said she was satisfied with the verdict, but will not be able to rest any easier until Jan. 3, when Framstead is scheduled to be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Everett W. Dickey.
“It’s enough,” she said, referring to the murder conviction. “He has to live with what he did and look in the mirror every day.”
Armantrout said the legal system failed her 19-year-old daughter because a court order keeping Framstead away from her did not protect her. But this time, with the aid of 12 jurors, the system worked, she said.
Prosecutors argued that Framstead, who had confronted Davis with a gun once before, stalked and murdered her on a stranger’s doorstep in Huntington Beach on Jan. 5, 1990, because she had broken his heart. He argued that he intended only to express his despair and then kill himself in front of her but that his gun went off accidentally.
Only one juror agreed to discuss the case. Roger Yamashita, 30, an engineer from Yorba Linda, said the panel felt that physical evidence from the crime scene--showing the gun was fired from above, at close range, while Davis cowered, her hands cupped before her face--contradicted Framstead’s argument.
“We did not believe it was an accident,” Yamashita said.
Timothy Davis, 40, of Fullerton, the victim’s father, said that the verdict “makes me feel good” but that Framstead “got off easy.”
One of the hardest things about the trial, Davis family members said, was the frustration that Davis wasn’t there to tell her side of the story. Davis’ aunt, Pam LaBossiere, 41, said it was hard for her to listen to Framstead’s testimony when he portrayed his affair with Davis as dreamy and romantic.
“It sounded like a Disney movie,” she said. “Well, now his fairy tale is over.”
Armantrout said she resented the defense attorney’s attempt to paint Davis as irresponsible--and Framstead as a mistreated lover--because she dated other men.
“She was a good mother,” Armantrout said. “She was loved by everybody.”
Tears swelling in her eyes, LaBossiere said: “All she wanted was the picket fence and the roses.”