Burning bodies case person of interest's past surfaces

Jesse Davis, 30, already in custody on unrelated charges


ORLANDO, Fla. – Court records obtained by Local 6 have revealed the violent and mentally troubled past of the man Orange County law enforcement sources have named a person of interest in the deaths of two Winter Park High School teens.

Jesse Davis, 30, suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, his attorney argued last year after Davis was charged with beating a man who honked his horn at car Davis was riding in.

Davis has been questioned about the deaths of Nicholas Presha, 16, and Jeremy Stewart, 18, whose bodies were found burning by two bicyclists around 6:40 a.m. on April 15 just off Cady Way Trail near Full Sail University.

Davis, who has not been arrested or charged in the teens' deaths, was most recently arrested on April 17 on unrelated charges. The charges included violation of probation, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Less than a week earlier, prosecutors obtained a warrant for Davis' arrest, after a man shot several times in February 2012 identified Davis as the shooter, according to court records. Davis was charged with attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery in that case after the victim was given a tracheotomy, which allowed him to speak and identify Davis from a photo line-up.

Records also show Davis as a violent and mentally unstable person with a lengthy criminal history. In 2008, Davis was arrested after pulling a gun on a woman whose boyfriend was a member of the Latin Kings gang at the Sun Bay apartment complex, according to records. Davis told police he had gotten into a fight with the man a few days before. Those charges were dropped.

But in February 2012, prosecutors had a chance to put Davis in prison for a minimum of 30 months, as called for in state sentencing guidelines, for using a stick to beat the driver of the car that honked at him in December 2008. Instead of forcing a trial, and fearing his mental illness could lead to an acquittal, the state did not object to a three-year probation sentence. Prosecutors noted Davis would get psychiatric help and be forced to take medication he needed if he was on probation.

If Davis was acquitted of the charges he wouldn't have been forced to do either of those.

Records show Davis' time in prison has also been lengthy. Davis was in state prison from June 2000 to March 2003, part of his four-year sentence for a June 1999 robbery in Seminole County, for which he was charged as an adult even though he was 17 at the time.

He returned to prison from March to November 2010, part of two-year sentences for dealing marijuana in 2007 and fleeing/eluding police in 2008 – both in Seminole County.

Neighbors said Davis lives on Orange Avenue in Winter Park, less than a mile from where the bodies of the teens were found.

On the door of the home was a sign reading, "No Comment (sic), No Media, No Coment (sic)."

Watch Local 6 for more information.