Worthington News

Storied Davis house draws more attention as ex-convict tries to move in

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The long strange saga of Worthington's "spooky" house took another twist last week, when a recently released convict tried to make it his home.

Worthington police said the man was "an unregistered sex offender with violent tendencies" who had said Allen Davis told him he could live in the house at 141 Sharon Springs Drive.

The man, who was not charged, recently was released from the Chillicothe Correctional Institute, where Davis is serving a 16-year term for shooting Rachel Barezinsky, a high school cheerleader who was with a group of teens in a car outside the Sharon Springs Drive home in August 2006.

She was struck in the head and shoulder and suffered serious injuries.

The story of the car full of girls having fun the week before school started was in the national spotlight for months, but it was neither the beginning nor the end of the tales involving the ramshackle, one-story house that is next to the Walnut Grove Cemetery.

In the latest incident, which occurred at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Worthington police were called by neighbors reporting that a man had been looking in the mailbox and walking around the outside of the vacant house, which is set in a yard full of weeds. The house itself is in such bad condition that it is "uninhabitable," Worthington Lt. Michael Dougherty said.

Dougherty was the first police officer on the scene and interviewed the suspect, who said he had been released from prison two days earlier.

While in prison, he met Davis, who reportedly told him that he could live in the Sharon Springs Drive home if he would fix it up to prepare it for sale.

The suspect said the agreement was in writing but that it was stolen while he was staying in Warren County after his release.

Police ordered him to not return to the home unless he had proper, notarized documents stating he could stay there. He was given a ride to Graceland Shopping Center and released.

"There was not a lot we could do," Dougherty said.

The house first gained public attention in 1999, when the city of Worthington tried to force Sondra Davis, Allen's mother, to clean up the yard and make repairs to the house. She defended her right to allow natural landscaping to flourish on the lot and fought the case in front of Worthington City Council and Franklin County's environmental court.

She never did cut the weeds.

In 2001, Thelma Davis, Sondra's mother, died in the house, and Sondra refused to release the body for two days. Thelma Davis had been found incompetent by Franklin County Probate Court some 32 years before she died at age 87.

Five years later, Allen Davis shot from a window at the girls, who had walked part way up a walk toward the house, and then retreated. Davis testified during his trial that the house had been the frequent target of teen-age pranksters, and he was trying to protect his mother and scare the girls as they drove away. He was convicted of attempted murder.

In August 2009, Sondra Davis was found dead of natural causes inside the house. The death surprised the community because she had led a very visible life. She did not drive and could be seen frequently walking in her hiking boots and khaki hat.

Her body was in the locked house for up to five days before a relative broke in to check on her. He had been alerted by Allen Davis from prison after he did not hear from his mother for several days.

The house has been vacant since Sondra's death. It has continued to deteriorate, according to police.

In 2011, the city of Worthington applied for and was denied a $250,000 grant to purchase and repair the house. City officials said they plan to continue to find ways to get the proper care for the property.

According to the Franklin County auditor's website, the property is owned by Sondra Davis and Carol S. Patterson. The 967-square-foot house sits on two lots.

In 2011, tax bills of $2,479 and $136 were not paid, according to the auditor.

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