Having noticed that Newspapers.com had loads of back issues of the Austin American-Statesman, I decided to start researching Austin, Texas cases. I have updated several on Charley, and learned a great deal more about the disappearance of Gracie Nell Nash and the one-woman crime wave that is Naomi Easley Moore.
Our story begins in May 1983, when Melvin Davis broke up with his girlfriend Naomi Easley. Almost immediately, the trouble started. Let’s have a list, shall we.
- Easley writes letters to Melvin’s boss trying to get him fired.
- Melvin and John Davis’s shared house is burglarized, and someone slashes the tires of John’s car and trailer.
- Melvin catches Easley pouring sugar and syrup into his gas tank.
- Easley and Melvin get in a physical confrontation inside his house, she pulls a gun on him, and he takes it away from her. She runs out of the house, then returns to ask for the gun back. He refuses to give it to her, and calls the police. Easley is put on a bond to keep the peace.
- Someone breaks into the Davises’ house, slashes all of John’s clothes and tries to start a fire in the bedroom.
- Someone sets the Davis brothers’ garage on fire, destroying one of John’s race cars.
- A third brother, Ronnie, is shot at by an intruder in Melvin and John’s house. He is uninjured.
- Easley shoots Melvin in the wrist. She is arrested, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and bails out.
- Three days later, someone fires several shots at John and misses.
- Gracie Nash, the Davises’ sister, disappears, apparently abducted from the parking lot of her workplace, the day after Christmas.
- The next day, the Davis parents get a call from someone who tells them if they ever want to see Gracie alive again, Melvin has to drop the charges against Easley.
- Gracie’s car turns up abandoned with Nash’s coat and evidence of a shooting, including a large amount of blood. Her body is never found.
- John is shot to death outside his house.
- Easley goes to trial for shooting Melvin, but the jury deadlocks, and she takes a plea and gets probation.
- Four and a half years later, Easley (now married and using the last name Moore) shoots her husband to death and is FINALLY sent to prison.
I have several questions about this:
- Is the Austin Police Department really so incompetent that they can’t put a case together against Naomi for any of the other burglaries, arsons, attempted murders, and two murders she obviously committed?
- Did Naomi stop her campaign of terror against Melvin Davis and his family after she was put on probation, or did it just drop out of the news at that point?
- Is anyone in the Austin PD still bothering to investigate John Davis and Gracie Nash’s murders? I looked her up, and Naomi Easley Moore is very much alive in prison right now. In fact, she became eligible for parole in 2004. And, um, Texas is a death penalty state.
- Did Naomi Easley have a pre-1983 history of launching into psychotic crime sprees against other ex-boyfriends?
- If it’s ever legally verified that Naomi Easley murdered Gracie Nash and John Davis, along with the third murder of her husband in 1989, would that qualify her as a serial killer?
Honestly, I obviously don’t have all the information, but I’m getting the impression that the police just didn’t care about what was happening. I don’t know if it was a race/class thing or what; the Davises were black children of sharecroppers and there were 17 kids in the family. They seem to have been respectable people but no doubt they were poor.
At her trial in the shooting of Melvin, the jury wasn’t allowed to hear about the murders of John and Gracie, and I’m not sure how much they heard about all the other stuff that happened. Three of the jurors wanted to convict her of attempted murder. Six opted for aggravated assault, and three wanted to acquit her.
One of the ones who voted for acquittal said he wasn’t sure Melvin could see Easley clearly as it was getting dark at the time of the shooting. Another said he thought Melvin was “going out on” Easley, which seems very improper to me — whether Melvin was being unfaithful or how he treated her was not at issue, the issue was whether or not she shot him.
But even if the jury couldn’t hear about the murders, the court knew about it. And she somehow managed to get PROBATION, after all of that. And the story ended in another man’s death.
Wow. This person was totally unhinged.
I think the entire Davis family should have considered emigrating to get away from her.
What a horror story for that poor man losing his sister and his brother.
Excellent write up Meaghan. I wonder if Inmate Easley would be willing to tell where she put the body of Gracie after all these years. Surely Austin PD Cold Case unit will attempt to get this solved. The community needs to voice their concerns when it comes to these unsolved cases.
Damn. That’s crazy.
When I read your recent write up about this case, I was awed by the extreme degree of rage and violence with this woman. Not only does she have immense anger management issues, she apparently can sethe with rage for an abnormally long time before acting on her anger. I don’t mean to make a political statement here, but I’m inclined to think that if she were a man engaging in the same behaviour she would not have been able to get away with it for so long. I wonder if she is relatively diminutive in size; that might feed into the assumption that so many others must have made that she couldn’t be very dangerous. What a poor misjudgement, in hindsight.
Also off topic, I was looking at the Tammy Leppart entry again and noticed that, for me personally, the age progression is WAY off. Like, immensely off. I understand the purpose of age progression images, and can sympathize with the difficulties in creating them, but this one in particular is completely off the mark. I don’t know how to put my finger on the exact differences that cause me to feel this way except to say that the width of the eyes might be the biggest problem. And just overall facial proportions and placement of markers and size of various features. It makes me want to get my sketching materials out of storage and give it a shot myself.
I agree about Tammy’s age progression. Those wonky eyes!
Given as it IS Texas, I’m surprised the Davis brothers didn’t decide to arm themselves and shoot back at Easley.
I’m appalled by the way her campaign of terror was allowed to continue all that time, and all she was given was a peace bond and later, probation. I know that domestic violence wasn’t taken as seriously back then as it is now, but it’s still shocking.
I agree with you on the subject of Ms. Leppert’s age-progressed drawing. I have the same grievance about most age-progressed images. I suspect they reflect more about the biases and assumptions that went into them than they do about reality.
That woman, was really upset. I agree that juror was upset that the boyfriend was going out with someone else does not make a difference in regards to what the offender did. Also, the Austin Police need to relook at her as the offender in the disappearance and murder.
I think a cold case unit and modern forensics might be able to solve at least one of the two cases. I mean, we’ve got DNA testing now. And I think we have improved ballistics.
This woman is in prison now for the murder of Kent Moore, my dad. When he was killed, I believe they took another look at this case.